buses 4 homeless

England alone has around 270,000 people registered homeless. Most people do not choose to live on the streets as it’s cold, boring and scary. Most people find themselves homeless due to family problems, mental health issues or falling behind with the rent/mortgage. Also read how to help dogs of homeless people.

Homeless people do qualify for benefits. Councils and shelters can download a free SWEP toolkit to create a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol to set up accommodation for winter (this includes dogs who live with rough sleepers – the best way to help is obviously to find dog-friendly accommodation for human guardians).

Buses 4 Homeless is an innovative idea, where out-of-service London double-decker buses are being repurposed into housing homeless people:

  • Bus 4 Shelter offers 8 sleep pods for safe warm nights
  • Bus 4 Dining teaches guests how to cook healthy meals
  • Bus 4 Learning teaches vocational skills to help get jobs
  • Bus 4 Wellness offers holistic support for vulnerable guests

The Big Red Night Bus (Blackpool) operates on the Fylde Coast during winter, to ensure a warm and dry place to stay on cold nights. Designed to bridge the gap between Housing Options and (often not available) emergency accommodation, it also acts as a refuge for those fleeing domestic violence.

This bus has been converted into 10 sleeping pods (seperated by sex) with a downstairs lounge, cooking area, laundry facilities, shower/toilet and TV. Guests who arrive complete paperwork, have a police body check (to keep everyone safe) then can access the bus from Friday to Sunday from 8am to 8pm, leaving on Monday mornings. By this time, their staff have hopefully arranged other accommodation or help. The bus is manned for security.

A good idea from abroad is Sleepbus (Australia). This has up to 20 secure climate-controlled sleep pods (with lockable doors and toilets) that are also pet-friendly. Everyone is looked after with overnight volunteer caretakers and CCTV surveillance, with under-bus storage for belongings. The Sleepbus arrives at its location from 8pm with guests able to come on-board from 8.30pm and everyone is tucked in bed (with doors closed) at 10pm. People then disembark from 7am and the SleepBus heads back to the depot to be reset for its next nightly help.

Age 19, the founder spent his rent money to repair his car, and found himself unexpectedly homeless. Unable to catch up with his rent, he vowed when sorted (he’s now an entrepreneur) to not only never get in that situation again, but also to do something to help others. As well as SleepBus now growing across Aussie cities, the new Pink SleepBus is designed to help women and children escape domestic violence, with a safe place to say while they sort their lives out. These buses are designed to house parents with children, and again are pet-friendly.

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