In 1992, Sleepbus founder, Simon Rowe, experienced first hand what it felt like to be homeless. Behind on his rent, Simon lived out of his car for four months after being evicted from his home. He would sleep in his car, travel to a caravan park in the morning, wash and shower and then go to work. He was eventually able to save up enough money for a month’s rent and bond for a new house – a luxury not available to most of the homeless population.
After finding success as a Chef and Entrepreneur, Simon spent most of his life not thinking about his past, or those experiencing the same hardships, until one day when he came across a man trying to sleep on the concrete floor outside his local bank.
He stopped and spoke to the man, handed him a $20 note and was deeply touched after it was received with such gratitude. That night Simon went home and made a decision that would lead to Sleepbus being born.
“Using my 20+ years of business experience, I set about developing a simple solution with a mission; to provide people sleeping “rough”, a safe overnight place to sleep. The more I developed and researched a solution, the more I discovered what a good nights sleep can do for a persons physical and mental health. Just being able to sleep through the night, warm and safe can give a person a whole new outlook on life, says Simon on his Go Fund Me page.
“Sleep Bus is distinct, yet complementary, to existing efforts from other organisations supporting Australians experiencing or at risk of ending up on the streets. Our work aims to fill a ‘gap’, rather than overlapping or replicating activities that support the urgent needs of people in Australia.
“The least we can do is provide safe overnight accommodation to people sleeping rough in Australia, until they get back on their feet.”
The sleepbus will include 22 individual sleep pods, 2 toilets, 22 personal lockers, as well as storage, places for pets and a security system that extends to families who wish to stay on the bus together.
The sleep pods, which were personally tested by Simon for comfortability, contain a single bed with all bedding, a USB charging device, personal light, lockable roller door and a television that runs ads for services and organisations that offer assistance and “pathways out of homelessness”.
Whilst the Sleepbus is not designed to replace existing homeless shelters, it is designed to supplement them and give shelter to those in more rural or out-of-reach areas and provide assistance to those with pets – an issue that sees many turned away at regular shelters.
The Sleepbus Go-Fund me page has just reached its first milestone of $50,000 in donations – an amount that will see the first bus get off the ground and into the trail stage.
The charity has now updated its goal to $85,000 which will pay for the maintenance and running costs of the bus during its Pilot Program.
As Simon writes on the Sleepbus page, “One bus can provide 8,030 safe sleeps per year. How much of an impact will that have on peoples lives!”
To donate to this incredible project, visit the Go Fund Me page here.