Over the weekend, online forum Reddit started an interesting conversation thread about the real needs of homeless people.
'Ex-homeless people, in your opinion what's the best way to really help the homeless?'
While those living on the streets are varied people with individual needs and require different support such as counselling, mental health treatment and even childcare services, many of the contributions spoke about the benefits of proper shelter; safety, hygiene, security and comfort.
Australian entrepreneur, Simon Rowe knows about these challenges. When he was in his 20s, he found himself behind on rent and evicted from his home. For four months, he lived in his car and saved up money for a months' bond while driving to caravan parks to take advantage of their facilities. Since then, he has gained over 20 years business experience and owned many successful hospitality and retail outlets.
Being impacted by the affects of homelessness and having a professional background in business management, Simon Rowe has now founded a not-for-profit 'Sleepbus', a big cross-country sized bus which provides safe accommodation to those sleeping rough in Australia.
One Sleepbus includes 22 individual 'sleep pods', USB chargers, televisions with auxiliary channels running adverts for pathways out of homelessness, 2 toilets, 22 personal item lockers, under bus storage, 8 pet kennels and a high-tech security, lighting and intercom system. With these basic facilities, Sleepbus aims to end the rough sleeping situations in Australia by providing homeless people with comfort and security. Their Mantra is 'Sleep Changes Everything', in which Rowe is hopeful that the ability to have consistent 'proper nights' sleep' can help people to transition into the community.
Simon Rowe has launched a GoFundMe campaign to assist with the costs of a $50,000 Sleepbus which will provide a safe place to sleep to over 8,000 people. He has already raised more than $42,000 of the total goal and hopes to build more buses throughout the country. The first Sleepbus will be in Melbourne.
Filthy Rich & Homeless season 2 airs over three nights starting on Tuesday 14 August 8.30pm on SBS. You can also stream the show anytime on SBS On Demand. Join the conversation with #FilthyRichHomeless.