Next to Godliness

lava mae

I’ve been avoiding posts about negative stuff and waiting to find positive stuff to share, which is why I’ve been sort of radio silence for the past couple of weeks. Well, I’ve found something positive, sort of.

I live across the bay from San Francisco, which has a lot of homeless people living there. When you visit you see them on the streets a lot, begging for spare change. You also (ahem) smell them, because they don’t have access to bathing facilities. But now that’s changing as a result of one woman’s great idea and ingenuity. Her name is Doniece Sandoval and her great idea is a bus that has been retrofitted to provide mobile showers  for homeless people.

Homelessness is not a positive thing to write about, but shower facilities for homeless people provided by a non-profit organization called Lava Mae is a good and positive thing. At least I think so, but if you check the comments following the article on SFGate about Lava Mae it becomes apparent that not everyone agrees. The reason is that some people think that San Francisco creates too many programs to help the homeless and the programs become a magnet that attracts more homeless people, which in turn increases the need for more programs for the homeless people; kind of a vicious cycle.

My own views on homelessness have evolved over the past thirty years. I used to have a neutral stance of grudging tolerance toward the homeless, balancing sympathy with a feeling that people often make bad choices in life. San Francisco and Silicon Valley have been very successful and created enormous wealth. It seemed odd to me that anyone could be homeless in the context of such wealth. Then we experienced the great recession and there were a lot of people who got swept up in the negative tide of choices that other people made. Whole families were living in tents in camping grounds and I realized that people become homeless for a variety of reasons and it’s wrong to put them all in the same category.

I see Lava Mae as an unqualified good and I love their motto: Delivering Dignity, One Shower At A Time.

One thought on “Next to Godliness

  1. Back in the 1960s if Deaf people tried to apply for welfare and couldn’t read and write English they’d be put on a Greyhound bus and sent out of town with nothing but what they had on them. Back then there was no way for them to communicate with anyone at a distance since they couldn’t talk on telephones. SF wasn’t kind to poor people back then. At least things are better now for Deaf people.


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