This post was first published by My London on 13/05/2019.
Homeless Londoners will soon be able to sleep in disused double decker buses in Croydon
What an amazing solution to temporary housing.
Homeless Londoners will soon be able to call a converted double decker in Croydon their home.
Buses4Homeless is providing a low cost solution to temporary housing, using decommissioned London buses that have been transformed into swanky state-of-the-art shelters.
The project will offer 16 beds, a 32-seat restaurant, online desk space and a holistic wellbeing space, as well as expert 24-hour support.
Deri Adshade, project manager at Buses4Homeless, said: “We see ourselves as the cost-effective, safety net and stepping stone between the night shelters and longer term permanent housing solutions.
“We want to break the cycle of homelessness.”
The buses have been done up by four rough sleepers in Croydon, along with the helping hands of tradespeople and suppliers in the community.
King’s College London, Laura Ashley, Stagecoach and local restaurants, chefs, architects, and construction companies have all pitched in.
Crucially, Buses4Homeless doesn’t just want to offer shelter and meals, but equips guests with the skills and confidence to move to a life beyond the street.
‘A community project’
It aims to get those who are referred to them into apprenticeships, employment or small businesses.
“We really want this to be a community project,” adds Deri.
“We want to collaborate with local businesses, colleges and service providers to help regenerate the area and change lives.”
The project will have four kinds of buses at hand.
Buses 4 Shelter will offer beds that will provide 7,300 nights rest for rough sleepers.
For food, Buses 4 Dining is a mobile soup kitchen offering hot meals and a safe place to eat as it drives around London.
If it becomes successful, they hope to teach the homeless to cook the food for the bus and in the future may fundraise by providing lunches for office workers.
Buses 4 Learning will be the go to place for learning opportunities, kitted out with iMac computers that will be used for guests to work towards vocational qualifications.
The Bus 4 Care will provide holistic support that will help users rejuvenate their lives.
Security and overcrowding can often be a problem in homeless shelters, but Deri is confident guests will feel at home on the buses.
“Each bunk has a shutter and the people we have worked with all really like the idea,” she says.
“Normally shelters have people on a mattress with no separation and this is a step up from that, there are communal spaces they can use as well.”
Buses4Homeless will also work with the Metropolitan Police to keep residents safe.
Many of the buses have become available because of the new Ultra Low Emissions Zone, which has taken older and less eco-friendly buses off the road.
Now the renovation work is almost complete, all that remains is to find a suitable location.
Deri said: “We are in talks with Croydon Council as we’d like to stay local if possible.”
“We plan to expand across the UK to help make a really big impact.”
Once the site is secured the first eight cohorts will be taken on board.
As well as setting up their own shelter, the homeless volunteers have been getting busy with decorating work at another high needs hostel run by Evolve Housing.
Inspired by Buses4Homeless ? It is still looking for donations on its website, where you can even choose which of the fabulous looking buses you’d like to support.