With more than 116,000 Australians having no place to call home- and thousands sleeping on the streets each night – Rowe believes “it’s not okay to let somebody sleep on the street”.
Domestic and family violence was the leading cause of homelessness across the country according to the 2011 Census, with close to one-in-four Australians seeking support from specialist services citing it as the reason they are homeless. In Victoria domestic violence was the reason more than 7500 people were homeless.
“At the moment we’re having a lot of women and children fleeing domestic violence situations and the advice is if you find yourself in those situations you need to get out and you need to get out now.
“It will be manned and services by women only, just to make them feel a little more comfortable and secure until they can figure out their next steps.”
The process of re-fitting a bus to create the Pink Sleepbus will cost $100,000, and will use the same design as the original Sleepbus.
“Sleepbus converts buses into temporary accommodation, by providing that first stop – immediate temporary accommodation to get them off the street and keep them safe,” Rowe said.
“Each Sleepbus has 22 sleep-pods, it has secure lockable doors, I has under-bus storage, pet-pods, and it also has an overnight caretaker to make sure everybody’s safe and well looked after.”
Sleepbus was the 2017 Telstra Victorian Social Change Maker Award winner.
Sleepbus’s vision is to build a fleet of more than 319 buses, providing more than two million safe sleeps each year across Australia.