Monday, January 6, 2014

Well worth the cause

I am reposting this from SF Examiner's Will Reisman. This will be very good for San Francisco's homeless.

New San Francisco startup aims to create mobile showers for homeless out of abandoned Muni buses 

A new San Francisco startup is aiming to find a use for Muni’s decommissioned buses while also helping to address The City’s chronic homelessness. Lava Mae, founded by entrepreneur Doniece Sandoval, proposes to transform old Muni buses into mobile showers and toilets for use by homeless residents. The company has already secured the rights to at least one Muni bus and has contacted the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission about using water hydrants. The bus is one of 40 that Muni plans to junk in the coming years in favor of newer vehicles.

Sandoval said she is working with a local design firm on how to retrofit the buses to include one shower and toilet for disabled residents and another two showers for the general population. Under the assumption that a shower takes five minutes, Sandoval hopes to attract 100 to 130 homeless citizens a day with her first bus, which will eventually be available seven days a week.

PointsMentioned MapWhere's the story? 1 Points Mentioned “The United Nations states that access to clean water is a basic human right,” Sandoval said. “But for many residents in our city, that is clearly not a reality. This is about restoring some of their dignity.” Sandoval said she was inspired to start Lava Mae — a play on the Spanish words “wash me” — by her experience with homelessness in San Francisco, particularly a time when she walked by a woman who kept chanting, “I’ll never be clean.”
“Obviously there were many layers to what she was saying,” Sandoval said. “But on a superficial level, it planted the idea for this project.” Sandoval also has backing from Bevan Dufty, the Mayor’s Office leader on homeless issues. Since the facilities would be mobile, there would be little concern that they would impede upon specific neighborhoods, he said. “We think this is a great idea, and we’re really amazed at Doniece’s initiative,” said Dufty, who has helped broker some of company’s dealings with Muni and the SFPUC. “She is addressing a basic human need in a very innovative manner.”

State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who recently introduced legislation to strengthen rights for homeless residents, also offered tentative support for the plan. “This sounds intriguing,” Ammiano said. “We’re always open to ideas, but we need to know more. I’m glad, though, that someone is thinking creatively and not just trying to dream up laws against the homeless.”

The main impediment to the project is funding. Sandoval estimates that it will cost about $75,000 to $100,000 to retrofit each bus. She said she’s working on securing grant funding and donations from companies and individuals.

Ideally, she would secure enough funding to retrofit four Muni buses, which would operate seven days a week for eight to 10 hours a day, with a night shift possibly included. Lava Mae would have only a few staff members, relying mostly on volunteers.

“There is still some work to be done,” Sandoval said. “But the support for this project has been amazing so far. We think this can be a template for cities across the country.”

Friday, January 3, 2014

A means to an end...

Utah Is on Track to End Homelessness by 2015 With This One Simple Idea

Give them an apartment first, ask questions later.

Utah has reduced its rate of chronic homelessness by 78 percent over the past eight years, moving 2000 people off the street and putting the state on track to eradicate homelessness altogether by 2015. How’d they do it?
The state is giving away apartments, no strings attached. In 2005, Utah calculated the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for an average homeless person was $16,670, while the cost of providing an apartment and social worker would be $11,000. Each participant works with a caseworker to become self-sufficient, but if they fail, they still get to keep their apartment.

MORE: San Francisco’s homeless take free showers on a bus retrofitted with bathrooms

Other states are eager to emulate Utah’s results. Wyoming has seen its homeless population more than double in the past three years, and it only provides shelter for 26 percent of them, the lowest rate in the country. City officials in Casper, Wyoming, now plan to launch a pilot program using the methods of Utah’s Housing First program. There’s no telling how far the idea might go.

AND: If you want to hire someone to help the homeless, why not the formerly homeless?

Source: Wyofile
Jenny Shank is a fiction writer and journalist in Boulder, Colo. Her first novel, “The Ringer,” won the High Plains Book Award. Her stories, essays, satire and reviews have appeared in The Atlantic, McSweeney's and The Guardian.


I don't promote my website as much as I should, but I'm happy to report that the site just reached 2000 views. Thank you all very much for support and downloads of my music. You're generosity helps keep grass roots music alive and well. We couldn't do it without you. Thanks again.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Email List and Newsletter

Hello all and Happy New Year!

I'm starting the monthly newsletter from this week and wanted to give everyone a heads up. I will do my best not to spam anybody and will deliver true content and updates on whats happening with the different shows. There is a lot of exciting things in the works for 2014. The Love Gangsters have some new merchandise for sale and will be recording an album soon. The North Beach Brass Band and Shantytown are in the works for the North Beach Festival again.

So thank you for all the support and I'll see you at the show!