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Second Sleepbus ready

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Second Sleepbus ready

Volunteers are needed to help deliver safe nights to vulnerable Coast women and children. WORDS: Caitlin Zerafa.

After a two-year campaign, the region’s second sleepbus is ready to provide a safe night’s sleep to some of the Sunshine Coast’s most vulnerable residents.

The new pink sleepbus will accommodate women and children and joins the Coast’s original sleepbus, which has provided 1026 safe sleeps since its launch in mid-2022.

Sleepbus takes out-of-service buses and converts them into secure overnight accommodation at no cost for people experiencing homelessness.

The pink sleepbus launched at Mooloolaba in late November, with it to begin operating on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from this month.

The specially fitted-out bus features 10 self-contained lockable sleeping pods, complete with double bunks, clean bedding, TV, charging ports, climate controls and access to lockable toilets.

Fundraising for the pink sleepbus began in 2021 and thanks to the generosity of the community raised more than $100,000 in a matter of weeks.

ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia (CDC), has partnered with sleepbus since 2019, donating the buses and providing fuel, mechanical repairs and storage at its local depots throughout the day.

The new pink sleepbus is one of five that CDC has donated and CEO Nicholas Yap says the company is proud to support the service.

“Sleepbus is the perfect partner for us as we can not only offer our end-of-use vehicles to be converted and extensive facilities around the country to keep the buses clean, fuelled and operational, but most importantly help provide some respite for those experiencing homelessness,” Mr Yap says.

“Even if it’s just for a single night, knowing our former buses and our teams are supporting Australians to have a safe and secure place to sleep is important to us as a business.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of people experiencing homelessness increased by 5.2 per cent in the five years to 2021 to 122,494.

In the same period, the number of women experiencing homelessness rose by 10.1 per cent.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare noted that from January 2022 to June 2023, the number of people nationally receiving specialist homelessness services increased by 21.7 per cent in Queensland.

Of those people either homeless or at risk of homelessness, 57 per cent are women.

Sleepbus CEO Simon Rowe says while both buses are now operational, the service is calling on more volunteers to meet demand and achieve the goal of providing the service daily.

“With more hands on deck, the service will be able to operate more days, providing more people with a safe place to sleep,” Mr Rowe said.

“It takes about nine people to look after each bus.

“There’s a range of ways people can help out and we know people’s lives change, so we don’t ask them to commit to regular shifts or hours.”

Roles include bus drivers, caretakers, housekeeping and service volunteers, with training provided.

Visit sleepbus.org.

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