The homeless and unwashed in San Francisco can now keep themselves clean thanks to an initiative funded by technology giant Google.
The internet behemoth, which has drawn fire in recent years for various things including driving up rents in the Bay Area, is now playing the Good Samaritan by supporting a venture that will provide mobile shower facilities for the homeless.
As part of its Google Impact Challenge, the company gave a grant of US$100,000 to Lava Mae, a San Francisco nonprofit that seeks to provide hygienic bathrooms to the city’s estimated 6,400 homeless residents.
Lava Mae unveiled this week a trial version of a vehicle containing such shower facilities. Converted from an old bus, the portable station offers free hot showers and also provides shampoo, soap and towels.
With the United Nations and the World Health Organization declaring that access to clean water and sanitation is a basic human right, Lava Mae has come up with an innovative solution to help ensure that right.
The organization’s founder Doniece Sandoval feels cleanliness could help many of those affected in their struggle to pull themselves out of destitution.
“You’re living on the streets and you’re filthy, you’re trying to improve your circumstances,” she told a reporter. “But you can’t interview for a job, you can’t apply for housing and you get disconnected from your sense of humanity.”
Google certainly seems to agree.
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