Lava Mae, a nonprofit project that seeks to provide the homeless with access to showers and toilets, commissioned artists and designers to create artsy toilets that were displayed along Market Street in San Francisco on November 21st, during the same week as World Toilet Day, for a project titled “C’mon, Give a Shit.” Though these names are snicker-worthy, this day is a UN recognized event that “aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.” Through their public art toilet project, Lava Mae seeks to generate awareness about the sanitation problem surrounding the homeless. In May 2014, Lava Mae plans to roll out their first retro-fitted MUNI bus that will provide mobile showers and toilets to the homeless community in San Francisco.
Lava Mae founder Doniece Sandoval says, “We want to deliver dignity. We feel that if you don’t have access to hygiene you lose touch with your humanity.” Acknowledging that the mobile facilities will certainly not end homelessness, Sandoval is hopeful that the project provides a good starting point for addressing the homeless’ lack of access to basic human needs. “We’re creating a model for delivery of service that others can embrace, a forum that works like open source technology,” Sandoval says, “Our designs, our budgets, anything we can help bring to other communities.”