sleepbus – a mobile sanctuary for the homeless

By Lorrin Windahl.

According to Homeless Australia, 1 in 200 people are homeless each night in our land of sweeping plains. That’s a pretty staggering statistic. And it saddens me to think of anyone sleeping on the street during this bitterly cold winter. But Simon Rowe has an idea that may just help to provide some of these people with a warm and safe alternative. He has developed the sleepbus, a mobile shelter that can sleep up to 22 people. It can even provide a place of rest for their furry friends too.



The philosophy behind sleepbus is to eliminate the need for people to sleep rough in Australia. And to achieve this they are planning to offer temporary accommodation until people, who are homeless, can get back on their feet. Sleepbus will be a safe and comfortable place to rest for the night, and it hopes to become a hub where existing, complimentary services can also assemble to create a ‘one-stop’ shop.

The benefits of a good’s night sleep are huge, especially on mental and physical health. A good night’s sleep can help to improve a person’s state of mind thus putting them in a better position to change their situation. Not surprisingly then, the sleepbus motto is ‘sleep changes everything’.

The concept for the sleepbus was the brainchild of Simon Rowe. Familiar with the insecurity associated with homelessness (he was once homeless himself) and an experienced entrepreneur, he had the idea when he was profoundly affected by seeing someone sleeping on the hard concrete floor, in a doorway, in the middle of the day.

sleepbus configuration
The design of the bus has been developed with sensitivity and thoughtfulness. It houses:

  • 22 individual sleeping pods
  • 2 toilets
  • 22 personal lockers
  • 8 pet kennels
  • a security system
  • under bus storage
  • an intercom system

Each ‘pod’ includes:

  • a mattress
  • sheets & blanket (to be changed daily)
  • pillow
  • a personal light
  • USB connection for charging a mobile phone
  • TV with auxiliary channel highlighting services available to help overcome homelessness
  • a lockable cabinet
  • climate controls

The only thing missing is a kitchen sink!

Although the sleepbus design is almost complete they still need financial support in order  to get their first bus on the road. If you’d like to donate, you can do so on their GoFundMe campaign page.

Feature image copyright to Albert Bridge. All other images courtesy of SleepBus.

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