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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Lava Mae Comes to Venice

Breaking the opening tape (toilet paper in this case) are Councilman Mike Bonin and Doniece Sandoval, founder and chief executive officer of Lava Mae. The Lava Mae bus organization has been showering the homeless in San Francisco, recently moved a bus to Los Angeles, and is now going to be in Venice one day a week.


Councilman Mike Bonin welcomed Lava Mae, the mobile showering service for homeless, into the Venice community Tuesday morning on 3rd Avenue, Venice as part of his overall Homeless Plan for Venice.

Venice has the second highest concentration of homeless in Los Angeles. It is planned that the Lava Mae shower bus will arrive in Venice every Tuesday on 3rd Ave, just south of Rose, and operate from 8:30 am until 1:30 pm.

Bonin hopes to have the County and LAHSA service agencies all available at shower time to assist the homeless in choosing supporting services to get them off the street into rehab or shelters or permanent housing.

Doniece Sandoval, founder and CEO of Lava Mae, commemorates opening of Lava Mae in Venice, CA.

Lava Mae was created by Doniece Sandoval in San Francisco four years ago after hearing the cry of a homeless woman that she would never be clean. Since then Sandoval has turned busses into showers. She wanted six stalls she said but it did not provide the privacy she envisioned so she settled for three. Sandoval has been operating the bus shown in downtown Los Angeles and Tuesday was its maiden voyage to Venice. Sandoval plans to open another bus in San Jose soon.

“Hygiene brings dignity and that opens up opportunity,” said Sandoval. She insists that the program be operated with dignity for the homeless. Her patrons are referred to as “guests.” She further insists that the services be totally safe and private and provide for the handicap as well.


Each “bus” has three complete bathrooms and one is equipped for handicapped. They hook up to a water hydrant. Shower water drains on the street; brown water is captured.

Every homeless person this writer talked with was looking forward to a hot shower. They all planned to participate. Toby, who was photographed in a previous Update story, was thrilled with the idea of a hot shower on his street that he has lived on for five years.

Cottage industries were sprouting up next to the showers. There was Narnia, T3, and an AIDS checking station that advertised condoms.

Elize’ Todd and Caitlin Adler started Narnia to help the homeless.

Elize’ and Caitlin pick up items from various places such as Salvation Army and provide them for people so they will have clean clothes when they get out of the shower.

Thomas sets up a table of rolls and coffee for the homeless and sees this as a way of giving back.

HIV testing and condoms.

Comments (2)

  1. Anonymous

    Why the hell should homeless shower water full of feces and numerous diseases run off into the streets of our community?

    Why should the homeless continue to get all the trappings of owning free beachfront property (24 hr bathrooms, mobile showers and storage, free food and services) when they don’t have to be in Venice. They are here for the drugs and sunshine and because fellow meth addict Bonin is welcoming them from all over the world! It cannot be supported. And to support their drug habit the rob tourists and break into residents’ homes. It’s a viscous cycle that’s being amped up by Bonin. There’s and endless stream of homeless and down and out that will keep flocking to Venice. Where does it end? Not well if you think about it. Murder, robbery, home invasions are the new norm under Bonin.

  2. john

    Now that Mark Ryavec has thrown in his hat, let us take back Venice from Bonin!!!

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