Sleepbus parks up in Queensland
19 January 2022 at 3:53 pm
“We’re confident that with the help of sleepbus, more people in more communities will find their way out of homelessness.”
Queensland bus company, ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia (CDC), has teamed up with the charity sleepbus to help provide temporary accommodation for Queenslanders sleeping rough.
Sleepbus was founded by Simon Rowe in 2016 following a conversation with someone sleeping rough who explained to him the risks of sleeping on the streets at night.
Wondering if an answer could be to combine Japanese pod-style accommodation with retired buses, Rowe launched a GoFundMe page, and subsequently raised over $100,000 to test his theory out.
Since then, sleepbus has gone on to provide a safe night’s sleep for people in Melbourne, Queanbeyan and Canberra with more projects to come.
The latest sleepbus, which brings the charity’s fleet number to four, launched earlier this year in Maroochydore, Queensland as part of the homelessness services offered by the Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre.
The Maroochy community space was thrilled to welcome sleepbus to its already packed roster of homelessness services – it already offers hot meals, laundry facilities, medical help, financial counselling, employment support, drug and alcohol counselling, free haircuts and showers as well as lockers to store personal belongings.
Relying on the generosity of others
Each sleepbus provides temporary accommodation for up to 17 guests a night via self-contained, lockable sleeping pods. Each pod comes with an Ecosa mattress, clean sheets and pillows and is equipped with a TV, USB phone charging port, climate control and private toilet.
One of the key aspects of bringing this project to life is, of course, access to retired buses.
CDC has partnered with sleepbus since 2019 and has donated buses, fuel, mechanical repairs and bus parking spaces. The Maroochydore sleepbus is the end result of the first bus donated to the charity by CDC Queensland.
Rowe said that it was almost impossible to achieve something as significant as sleepbus without the generosity of others and the support of volunteers.
“CDC’s involvement has had a direct impact on how many people we are able to help, allowing them to sleep in a safe, warm space at night in a number of different communities around Australia,” he said.
“Getting the call from CDC letting me know they were going to donate one of their old buses was amazing and I am truly grateful for their support.”
Sleepbus for women and children
The next project for Lowe, sleepbus and CDC is another sleepbus built just for women and children in the Maroochydore area – affectionately termed the ‘pink sleepbus.’
“In 2021, we launched our first pink sleepbus in Canberra as an exclusive service for vulnerable women and children, giving them a safe place to sleep [and be] assisted by an all-female volunteer crew,” Lowe said.
“We look forward to bringing our second pink sleepbus to the Maroochydore area soon.”
CDC has continued to donate decommissioned buses, the latest being from Coffs Harbour and Narrabri, which will factor into sleepbus’ future plans to bring services to Byron Bay, Hervey Bay, the Gold Coast and Tweed Heads.
CDC’s regional Australia division chief executive officer, Tony Hopkins, said that after the company made its initial vehicle donation, he knew that he wanted to further support the charity to help other communities.
“We saw that partnering with sleepbus, and making more use of our resources such as buses and our depots, was an opportunity to make another difference to the community and to the lives of individuals who have found themselves in less fortunate situations.” Hopkins said.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to see our first donated bus as a finished product. We’re confident that with the help of sleepbus, more people in more communities will find their way out of homelessness.”
Find out more about sleepbus here