Kohler partners with Lava Mae to bring mobile showers to homeless community


Mobile hygiene program expands to Los Angeles with bath product donation from Kohler

KOHLER, Wis. – October 6, 2016 – Based on the most recent Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, there are more than 46,000 individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County on any given night. Living on the street means not only finding a place to sleep and a source of food, but often going days or even weeks without the basic dignity of a hot shower or access to restrooms.

Kohler Co. is partnering with nonprofit organization Lava Mae to bring its mobile showering service to Los Angeles with an in-kind donation of KOHLER plumbing products.

Founded in San Francisco in 2014, Lava Mae converts retired city buses into mobile hygiene facilities to deliver showers and rekindle dignity to those experiencing homelessness. Kohler supported its initial launch with bath fixtures and faucets to retrofit city buses, which have since served 2,300 San Franciscans who have taken 14,000+ showers on the mobile units.

“As a company that seeks to offer consumers gracious living experiences through its beautifully designed and superbly crafted bath products, Kohler embraced the opportunity to reach disadvantaged individuals who don’t have access to the basic dignity of a private, hygienic toilet and regular showers,” said Rob Zimmerman, director of sustainability. 

The Los Angeles mobile unit will be a commercial trailer with three private toilet and showering stalls. KOHLER products donated to the project include sinks, faucets, toilets and a digital showering system that operates on a timer to maximize the number of guests who can use Lava Mae’s service. All are WaterSense®-labeled products that meet or exceed California Energy Commission water-efficiency requirements.

“Our partnership with Kohler enabled us to successfully launch and scale in San Francisco, and now we are able to expand to Los Angeles and bring much-needed mobile hygiene services to those moving through homelessness,” said Lava Mae Founder & CEO Doniece Sandoval. “Kohler’s early, enthusiastic, and steadfast support for Lava Mae’s mission to take radical hospitality to the street is an excellent example of how nonprofit/for-profit collaborations can successfully innovate new ways to meet the needs of our homeless neighbors.”

About Kohler Co.
Founded in 1873 and headquartered in Kohler, Wisconsin, Kohler Co. is one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies comprised of 32,000 associates. With more than 50 manufacturing locations worldwide, Kohler is a global leader in the manufacture of kitchen and bath products; engines and power systems; premier furniture, cabinetry and tile; and owner/operator of two of the world’s finest five-star hospitality and golf resort destinations in Kohler, Wisconsin and St Andrews, Scotland. Kohler Co. has a long history of supporting water efficiency and sustainability and is a leading producer of water-saving plumbing products, which has earned the company eight consecutive awards from the EPA WaterSense® program. For more details, visit kohler.com for information on water-saving plumbing products, believe.kohler.com for stories on Kohler's sustainability mission, and follow KOHLER on Twitter and Facebook.

About LavaMae
Lava Mae is taking “radical hospitality” to the street, and bringing humanity, innovation, and collaboration to the way services are provided to those experiencing homelessness. Founded in San Francisco in 2014, Lava Mae began by converting public transportation buses into showers and toilets on wheels to deliver hygiene and rekindle dignity. We've since deepened our work by innovating new programs to dramatically increase access to vital services on the street – where people are.

To-date, Lava Mae has touched the lives of 2,300 San Franciscans who have taken 14,000+ showers on their mobile units, inspired replication of their hygiene services, and dramatically raised awareness about the lack of showers among the broader community across the U.S. and around the globe. For more information, please visit www.lavamae.org, and connect with the Lava Mae community on Facebook and Twitter.

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