Sleep tight on board the sleep bus

By Sunny Liu

A dozen sleep-buses will soon appear in Melbourne’s CBD to shelter those sleeping rough on the streets.

Sleep-bus founder Simon Rowe knows very well how dangerous it is to sleep without a roof, having been homeless for four months when he fell behind in his rent 20 years ago. His goal is simple: to get people off the street.

Within the next few months, more than 300 sleep-buses are expected to pop up in Australia’s major cities, providing temporary accommodation for people needing it the most.

Mr Rowe is personally fitting-out the buses, with the occasional help from some volunteers and an electrical company.

Each sleep-bus is built with 22 sleeping pods, two toilets and eight pet kennels. Security intercoms are installed and an overnight caretaker is available to help people settle in and maintain the safety of the bus.

The sleeping pods and other amenities are currently being tested by volunteers to ensure the homeless would get stress-free sleeps.

More than $110,000 has been raised through crowdfunding and donations for this good-willed project.

The buses are purchased at a discounted price from bus company Westernport Roadlines and the mattresses are purposely made and donated by Ecosa Mattress.

Mr Rowe is planning to get charities to provide free food and drinks on the buses. Guidance and support will also be given to help homeless people get out of their current situation.

He is in the process of negotiating with the City of Melbourne to get parking permits for the buses.

“We need to make sure safety measures are in place and the buses are easily accessible,” he said.

Mr Rowe said sleep buses were only a short-term solution to help people get safe accommodation.

“Our focus is safety and good sleep. There should be other organisations working to provide long-term solutions to homelessness, such as affordable housing.”

To donate please visit the sleep bus GoFundMe Campaign at gofundme.com/sleepbus

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