“Sleepbus” Gives Homeless Humans And Pets a Place To Sleep

Christina Peden
by Christina Peden
A revolutionary idea out of Australia is helping give the homeless a safe space for themselves and their pets— and the good news is, you can help, too.

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself homeless, with no place to go? And what if, on top of that, you had pets?

Most homeless shelters don’t allow pets inside, placing their owners between a rock and a hard place. Have a safe, warm place to lay your head for the night, but leave your pets to fend for themselves? No way. For anyone who loves their pet, that isn’t truly an option at all.

Thankfully, one intrepid Australian entrepreneur is working to put an end to this terrible dilemma.

Related: “A Dog’s Life” Explores The Relationship Between Dogs And The Homeless

Simon Rowe was moved to action after encountering a homeless trying to sleep at a busy Melbourne intersection in May 2015. Like many others, he contemplated just passing the man by, but on this day, something compelled him to stop. After a short conversation, Rowe gave the man $20 and his face just lit up with gratefulness and joy. Rowe went home and cried.

Photo credit: Sydney Morning Herald

You see, more than 20 years earlier, Simon Rowe had been homeless himself, living out of his car for 4 months while he tried to save enough for first and last months’ rent. Since then, he has become a successful chef and entrepreneur, “living selfishly and not giving a second thought to those sleeping [on the streets].”

Rowe knew he couldn’t live selfishly any longer. Thus, the idea for the Sleepbus was born. Housed in a converted commuter bus, it contains 18-22 sleeping pods, two washrooms, space for an overnight caretaker and 8 pet kennels!

Each pod even has it’s own small television which advertises local homeless services, as well as charging stations for electronic devices and locking, roll-down pod doors for safety and privacy.

Related: Pets Provide Benefits for Homeless Youth

So while the Sleepbus is great for all homeless folks, it’s especially helpful to those who have pets. No longer will they have to make the heart wrenching decision to have a safe place to sleep at the expense of their pets’ wellbeing. Pets are family — this would be a horrible choice for anyone to make.

The Sleepbus is still a work in progress, but progress IS being made every day. Rowe is currently busy building the first bus for the charity’s pilot program. That’s also where you come in — the Sleepbus was originally launched as a GoFundMe campaign, and they are just about $10K shy of meeting their $120,000 goal.

Want to contribute? Check out their GoFundMe.

And on another great note — don’t be surprised if you see Sleepbuses popping up outside of Australia, too. Rowe has seen a massive surge of interest from charities in the US and the UK who want to build and launch their own Sleepbus programs as a result of his campaign.

As for us? We hope to see Sleepbuses rolling down the streets of cities across the world, providing a safe haven for both people and their pets. What a huge step in the right direction.

[Source: GoFundMe]

Christina Peden
Christina Peden

Christina Peden is a lifelong animal lover and avid wordsmith. She lives in Toronto with her boyfriend Ryan where they are proud pet parents to puppy, Matilda and cat, Oscar. In her spare time, she can be found enjoying Toronto, Canada's all-too-short patio season, taking advantage of the city's numerous parks or curled up with a good book.

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