People who are homeless or sleeping rough will be able to access a state-of-the-art SleepBus on the Redcliffe Peninsula from next year.
The team from The Breakfast Club Redcliffe have surpassed the $100,000 needed to purchase and fit out the bus, thanks to the generosity of the community and Moreton Bay Regional Council.
At last week’s meeting, Council voted unanimously to provide $50,000 towards the initiative, with this SleepBus being a first for the region.
Each SleepBus provides temporary overnight accommodation to help people get off the street and into a safe environment where they can get a good night’s rest.
Mayor Peter Flannery said this was an important investment in community safety and wellbeing at a critical point in time.
“While homelessness and crisis accommodation are the responsibility of the State and Federal Governments, Council’s vote recognises that we have to help our local services where we can,” Mayor Flannery said.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen an increase in people experiencing homelessness in Moreton Bay after years of neglect in services and housing from the State and Federal Governments, combined with the recent housing crisis and inflation increases.
“Council officers saw a 70 per cent increase in referrals of people sleeping rough last financial year, and more than half of those people are living in Redcliffe where the issue is at its worst.
“This SleepBus is a great step in the right direction, but it’s not the full solution by any stretch. It’s just one part of a multi-agency approach that’s needed.
“The mobile temporary accommodation service can provide over 7,000 safe sleeps per year for people who are doing it tough and help link them up to the support services they need.”
Councillor Karl Winchester (Div 6) raised a potential conflict of interest during the meeting, stating he had personally donated $1000 to the project.
The conflict was dismissed, and he was permitted to stay in the Council chamber and vote on the matter.
Cr Winchester said there was a noticeable increase in people sleeping rough and homelessness across the region, with rental availability and affordability making the problem worse.
“Homelessness is a complex issue that varies from individual to individual and we need innovative responses like this,” he said.
“The Breakfast Club Redcliffe has been providing key services for people experiencing homelessness for many years now and they’re an invaluable part of our community.
“We have an amazing community in Redcliffe, but we can’t afford sit on our hands and watch as homelessness continues to increase.”
In a post to Facebook, The Breakfast Club Redcliffe shared a picture of their fundraising page that showed them surpassing their goal.
They hope to have the SleepBus in time for winter 2023.
“This is what community can do!!!! Redcliffe will have a SleepBus by winter 2023,” the post said.
“We are so excited and grateful. Through the efforts of our community, the Moreton Bay Regional Council, and the Jelley Family Foundation, we have reached and even surpassed our target.
“We will have enough to go towards the operation of a SleepBus, or if funds keep coming, there is the potential for a second SleepBus to meet the growing need in the Moreton Bay Region.
“Our next challenge will be getting volunteers to get the SleepBus up and running.
“If you are interested, please go to https://www.sleepbus.org/and take a look at the volunteer’s page. Well done, Redcliffe.”
All volunteers will need to register their interest with SleepBus, as they will be the ones responsible for the day-to-day running, not The Breakfast Club Redcliffe.
Features of the SleepBus
The SleepBus that is planned for Redcliffe will feature 10 secure, self-contained sleep pods that all come with double-bunk beds, clean sheets and pillows.
One berth will be slightly bigger to allow a family to stay together in the one pod, and there will be pet cages available for people with small animals.
There will also be USB phone-charging ports, climate controls and access to toilets.
You can find out more about the SleepBus model at www.sleepbus.org
How you can help
If you would like to donate to help The Breakfast Club Redcliffe purchase a second SleepBus, click here.
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