Homeless shelter Sleepbus has found a new home in a Spotswood warehouse, generously gifted by an anonymous donor, which will provide the charity with a home base and enable them to start building additional buses.
Sleepbus converts buses into safe, temporary overnight accommodation to get people off the street by offering an immediate, first stop, cost-effective solution for our society’s most vulnerable people; catching them early until they can get back on their feet.
The idea of Sleepbus was developed by charity founder Simon Rowe who told radio hosts Steve Price and Tim Reid on Sydney talkback station 2GB that the idea was prompted by an emotional encounter with a homeless man on a busy St Kilda street in Melbourne.
“I was walking down a street in St Kilda one day. There was a guy sleeping on the street with people stepping over him in the middle of the day, and I stopped and had a chat to him, and I just remember him being the tiredest bloke I’d ever seen in my life,” he said.
“The thing he said to me was, it wasn’t safe to sleep at night because people have a crack at you and try and steal your stuff and that sort of thing. So, it’s much safer to sleep during the day and let people like me walk over him.”
The encounter had a profound effect on Simon Rowe who decided to quit his corporate job and spend 12 months researching homelessness, which involved going undercover at some of Melbourne’s frontline homeless services and crisis accommodation centres.
Simon Rowe speaks about a homeless man he met on a busy St Kilda street. (23/05/18)
“I went undercover as a homeless person and I slept in a shelter one night, which was just mattresses on the floor, and it was the scariest experience I’ve ever had. I thought – how can I give people safe sleep quickly and cheaply,” he said.
It was then that Sleepbus was born, with a bus boasting 22 secure, climate controlled, individual sleep pods with a lockable door, under bus storage, pet pods for companion animals, an onboard, overnight security person and monitored CCTV surveillance.
One Sleepbus provides 8,030 safe sleeps per year and charity’s vision is to build about 320 buses which will provide more than 2 million safe sleeps per year, and ultimately end the need for people to sleep rough in Australia.
Simon Rowe speaks about going undercover as a homeless man in Melbourne. (23/05/18)
Sleepbus was generously gifted a warehouse space in Spotswood which will provide the charity with a home base and enable them to start building additional buses. They invite supporters and members of the community to a Public Open Day on September 9.
A small $5 entry fee will contribute to the running of the event. There will be a sausage sizzle and a coffee van where drinks can be purchased, as well as an opportunity to tour the Sleepbus and hear from founder Simone Rowe on The Pink Sleepbus project.
Sleepbus Public Open Day 2018
Sunday 9 September
1 Hudson Road, Spotswood
$5 entry fee
For more information on Sleepbus and its founder Simon Rowe, visit the Sleepbus website, where you can also find information on how you can get involved and support the charity, be it volunteer opportunities, in-kind services, corporate sponsorships or donations.