From the outside, it looks like just any other bus but inside, it’s so much more.
Sleepbus is a portable safe-haven for those sleeping rough, and for those with nowhere else to go.
“We have had our services finding that they have occasionally, regularly, to say to people we’ve got nowhere to offer you, and here’s a sleeping bag or here’s a tent, so this Sleepbus model is a community response to address that issue,” says Viv Cox from the Queanbeyan Housing Action Collective.
This SleepBus has seven pods – each with a bed and a TV and heating and cooling systems.
There’s also a volunteer caretaker, keeping watch over occupants overnight.
“We do have information on the bus about all the services that are provided in the area, so if people would like to, they can look at the screen and find out where they can get some support which will be great for us as well because we can connect with people we don’t normally connect with,” says Janette Dale, the Molonglo Support Services Executive Officer.
The project is being warmly welcomed by the local community, with more than 100 people already volunteering to take a turn as overnight caretaker on the bus.
“The community also donated, and then local business people also donated, then the local government support, we had state Government support, and so it’s a total package of support, we’re just so thrilled to see it here finally,” says Cox.
And it’s not just people who are welcome onboard, companions of all kinds can find a place for a night, with special pet pods below deck.
“You get the full gamut, so we’ve had cockies, we’ve had parrots, frill necked lizards, rats, ferrets and then you get your dogs and cats and that sort of thing, they’re all happy, they’re all welcome on Sleepbus,” says Sleepbus founder Simon Rowe.
The bus itself is a timely reminder that as winter approaches, there are those who need support more than ever.
“So this is for anyone, this is for anybody that needs a place to sleep, whether it be man, woman, or child, that sort of thing, so there’s no restrictions or criteria or anything like that, we just have one rule which is the quiet enjoyment rule, so as long as you can keep it together for the night and allow everybody else to have a quiet sleep you get a bed,” says Rowe.
A safe haven on wheels, helping those living on the street until they can get back on their feet.