Council boards the Sleepbus to tackle homelessness
Published 30 November 2022
Council has partnered with The Breakfast Club Redcliffe in putting out the call for sponsors and interested community members who can help the charity set up the region’s first ‘Sleepbus’ - a mobile service that will provide safe, overnight sleep spaces for people sleeping rough.
Council unanimously voted to provide $50,000 towards the initiative, but the total cost of the ‘Sleepbus’ purchase and fitout will be $100,000.
Mayor Peter Flannery said this was an important investment in community safety and wellbeing at a critical point in time.
“While homelessness and crisis accommodation are the responsibility of the State and Federal Governments, Council’s vote today recognises that we have to help our local services where we can,” Mayor Flannery said.
“The mobile temporary accommodation service can provide over 7,000 safe sleeps per year for people who are doing it tough and help link them up to the support services they need.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen an increase in people experiencing homelessness in Moreton Bay after years of neglect in services and housing from the state and federal governments, combined with the recent housing crisis and inflation increases.
“Council officers saw a 70% increase in referrals of people sleeping rough last financial year, and more than half of those people are living in Redcliffe where the issue is at its worst.
“This Sleepbus is a great step in the right direction, but it’s not the full solution by any stretch. It’s just one part of a multi-agency approach that’s needed.
“Thanks to the State Government’s $3 million contribution, we’re confident we can start building a multimillion-dollar homelessness hub for The Breakfast Club next year, but this now hinges on Federal Government support to help us manage rising construction costs in the current economic climate.
“I’ve also been meeting with community housing providers with a view to find ways that Council can encourage more diverse housing, particularly in Redcliffe and Caboolture to support our communities.
“But homelessness and social and crisis accommodation are the responsibility of the state and federal governments, and we can only do so much without their support, so I urge them to get on board and help us address this growing societal issue.”
Councillor Karl Winchester said that with The Breakfast Club driving the initiative and Council’s contribution they have now achieved more than half of their $100,000 need to purchase the bus and urged the community to contribute what they could to help them achieve their target.
“The Breakfast Club has been providing key services for people experiencing homelessness for many years now and they’re an invaluable part of our community,” he said.
“I’m so proud that Council can help contribute $50,000 toward the $100,000 needed to purchase a Sleepbus and I’m even more humbled to see that the community has already contributed a further $29,000 of the remaining funds needed.
“We have an amazing community in Redcliffe, but we can’t afford sit on our hands and watch as homelessness continues to increase.
“COVID has been so difficult for so many people in the community and the unfortunate weather events earlier in the year have only put a further strain on households doing it tough.
“We’ve got a long way to go but a Sleepbus will certainly move us in the right direction and show that Moreton Bay can be a leader in this space.”
Council’s $50,000 Regional Community Project Grant is conditional on the grounds that The Breakfast Club raises the other $50,000 required to purchase a Sleepbus.
You can find out more about the Sleepbus model at www.sleepbus.org