Ballarat’s first shower bus for the homeless is nearly complete and ready to go.
A team of dedicated volunteers have committed significant time to the vehicle and will have it ready for the official dinner launch this Thursday at Federation University.
The One Humanity Shower Bus initiative is the product of a united community front to help provide a different, albeit crucial level of support for the alarmingly high number of people sleeping on Ballarat’s streets.
Constantine Osuchukwu, the Anglican priest at St Paul’s Church Bakery Hill, held a community forum in Ballarat last August with the aim of getting the service onto the local streets and the response has been astounding.
A range of Ballarat businesses and organisations have contributed to the cause, with the Rotary Club of Ballarat South helping obtain the bus from Little’s Coaches, while Ross and David Gay offered the former Ballarat Building Supplies site in Main Road to store the bus, with Darren Trigg of TGM and Rotary Young Ambition looking at internal design options.
Crucially, the high level of volunteer input has made the project an affordable one and Mr Osuchukwu said its cost – less than $10,000 – shows exactly what can be achieved with the right community mindset.
In contrast, a similar shower bus service for Melbourne’s homeless cost around $100,000 to get up and running.
“It’s been an incredible amount of generosity,” Mr Osuchukwu said.
“This is a testament to show that we can meet the needs in the community.
“If we do work together we can solve these problems and this is an example of what we can accomplish when we do work and think together.”
Mr Osuchukwu said the bus, which will operate alongside the Soup Bus on the Civic Hall site, provides more than just a hygiene service.
“We want to be able help learn what their (the homeless) needs are and refer them to the relevant services,” he said.
More than 80 people have already volunteered to assist when the bus hits the streets.
Meanwhile, more than 130 people have purchased tickets to the launch on Thursday at Federation University’s Mt Helen campus at the Albert Coates Complex.
More information and ticketing available by searching the www.eventbrite.com.au website.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.