Copyright (C) Henrik Kam, courtesy Lava Mae

As of this morning, the tentative City Council agenda for November 13, 2018 contains a hopeful item for improving conditions for our homeless brothers and sisters on the street: mobile hygiene centers! {agenda item memo}

Lava Mae is a non-profit corporations that has been outfitting trailers and repurposed public transit buses as portable toilets and hot showers. On a regular schedule they bring these facilities to fixed locations in the cities they serve. They're also known to augment their well received shower facilities with pop-up "Care Villages" that provide hair cuts, medical help, help veterans, empathetic listeners, books, clothes and more. In these parts, they currently operate in San Francisco and Oakland.

Amazingly, Lava Mae doesn't charge cities a dime. Instead they merely need such basics as permission, a place from which to draw water, a designated sewer system manhole into which to empty gray-water, and a keep-it-safe inspection of their propane water heaters by the local Fire Chief.

Lava Mae seems to be a uniter not a divider. Their impressive list of corporate partners brings together rivals like Google and Microsoft, and EO Products and Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One! They are also keen to accept donations from regular folks - every $10 buys a shower, which is not a bad deal at all in today's world. You can learn more about the program and maybe kick them a few bucks at the link we give below: {Lava Mae}

It's a beautiful, and beautifying, and dignity-promoting project by all accounts. Probably that's why Council member Davila (district 2), who is bringing the idea to Council, proposes a short term referral to the City Manager - which would make it a priority for fast action by the manager.

As compelling as the idea obviously is, nothing is for certain. The Berkeley Native Sun reluctantly notes that certain Council members sure do seem intent on punishing and marginalizing Davila endlessly for her solidarity with Palestinians and sharp criticisms of Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Additionally, there is a vocal - small, but vocal - faction of residents in Berkeley who seem to have disproportionate sway with council and who reliably oppose anything that might help people survive on Berkeley streets.

Stay tuned and if you want to help, drop council a note of support to your favorite Council members. {write to Council}


{agenda item memo}

The memo from Coucil member Davila:


{Lava Mae}

Official web site for Lava Mae

{write to council}

Public communications for a City Council meeting may be sent to well in advance of the meeting.

Email that goes directly to the full council may be sent to

The address of individual council members is available on the City's web page for each member. Council member Davila's is

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Copyright (C) 2018 Thomas Lord