SleepBus to keep homeless safe

Published 5:00pm 28 October 2022

SleepBus to keep homeless safe
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

The Breakfast Club of Redcliffe is calling on local businesses and individuals to help them raise enough money to buy a SleepBus, so they can provide a safe place for people doing it tough to sleep.

The organisation needs to raise $100,000 for the bus, which will have the capacity to provide overnight accommodation for 20 people.

Michelle Gilchrist from The Breakfast Club says their fundraising effort is off to a fantastic start, but she's hoping more businesses and clubs from across the Moreton Bay Region will get behind the cause.

“The SleepBus will cost us roughly $100,000, so that’s taking the bus and stripping it down and fitting it out with all the bits it needs, and then delivering it from Melbourne to Redcliffe,” Michelle explains.

“We have already raised nearly $19,000 with help from the community.

“We received a $10,000 Commbank Staff Foundation Community Grant, and a further $5000 from Kedron Wavell Services Club, which we are so grateful for.

“The community has also been fantastic, and we too had some money put aside for the SleepBus.”

Money also raised from the upcoming Rockin 4 the Homeless event on Saturday, November 5, will go towards purchasing the SleepBus.

Michelle says a bus like this will make a big difference to people who are sleeping rough.

"This SleepBus will provide a safe place where people can come for the night and get a good night’s sleep,” she says.

“If they are sleep deprived, which a lot of our homeless people are, they can feel safe knowing they have somewhere horizontal to sleep and they won’t need to be keeping a look out for other people.

“A majority of the people who will use the SleepBus will sleep for the entire time because they are just so drained.”

SleepBus to keep homeless safe

How the bus works

The SleepBus will have 10 secure, self-contained sleeping pods 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.

Michelle says access to the SleepBus will be on a first come, first served basis.

“Unfortunately, reservations can’t be made for the SleepBus,” she says.

“People will be loaded onto the bus between 8.30-10pm at night, and then woken up at 7am.

“The sleep bus will be a valuable resource for a lot of people, but not everybody.

“Some people might not be comfortable sleeping in there or have mental health issues that don’t allow them to be in small, confined places.

“There will however be a way for people in the pods to communicate to an overnight caretaker, so if they wish to get out they can."

The SleepBus will require a number of volunteers to put their hands up and donate their time to ensure it runs smoothly.

“These volunteers will be organised through SleepBus, so if anyone would like to put their hands up to help, you will need to go through them,” Michelle explains.

“They will have a number of teams – one for loading the people up at night, one for helping them in the morning, another team who will come in and do the housekeeping, the overnight caretakers and the drivers."

SleepBus to keep homeless safe

How quickly will the SleepBus arrive?

Michelle is hoping to have the SleepBus in Redcliffe by winter next year.

At this stage, she is hoping the SleepBus will be fully operational a few days a week.

“We are being realistic at the moment when we say the bus will probably run maybe two or three nights a week at the beginning,” Michelle says.

“We would love it to be operational every night, but that will depend on the number of volunteers.”

The Breakfast Club has also been in discussions with the Moreton Bay Regional Council, with Michelle saying, “Council is supportive of bringing the bus to the Redcliffe peninsula”.

How you can help

If you would like to donate to help The Breakfast Club purchase a SleepBus, log onto the SleepBus website and donate. You can do that by clicking here.

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