An organization in London has brought forth a new approach to combating homelessness that is both unique and pays homage to one of the British capital’s most time-honored traditions. Many of the famous, but aging, double-decker buses that offer tours and transport across London are now getting a second life as shelters for the homeless. Buses4Homeless, formed in 2018, is a new social venture that refurbishes and repurposes the old buses to both provide shelter and keep the buses out of landfills.
Prominent London businessman Dan Atkins conceived of Buses4Homeless after seeing a homeless man sleeping in the luggage compartment of one of the buses. He bought a double-decker bus and converted it into a suitable home before giving it to the man. Atkins even helped the man find employment and eventually a flat to rent. Recent regulations which designated parts of the city as an Ultra-Low Emission Zone have made it easier to get ahold of the old buses, as they don’t meet the emissions requirements in those areas and thus can’t operate. They are essentially decommissioned and inactive. The new program purchases the buses from the boroughs in the zone (or receives them through donation) and converts these former tourist attractions into comfortable accommodations for the city’s homeless, complete with multiple sleeping bunks.
Since the original pilot, four additional buses have been donated to Buses4Homeless and are either fully ready or in the process of being converted. The group’s website claims that London has over 31,000 homeless residents, and their initial goal toward tackling the issue is to provide 14,600 nights of sleep per year. The group also has a mobile soup kitchen bus called Buses4Dining and a learning space/computer lab called Buses4Learning. And, appropriately, the sleeping buses will go by the moniker Buses4Shelter.
H/T: Secret London