Last year, when Simon Rowe approached a destitute man curled up on the sidewalk in Melbourne, Australia, and asked if he was okay, the man replied that he was trying to get some rest.

The man's eyes lit up when Rowe handed him $20, and he thanked him just before trying to curl up and get back to sleep again.

On his GoFundMe page, Rowe wrote that the experience "affected me in a profound way."

"[Homeless people] on the streets are subjected to terrible weather, harassment, bullying, being robbed and worse. No one should have to live like that," he added.


GoFundMe/Sleepbus

In the graphic above, posted on his GoFundMe page, he explains how many safe sleeps the bus could potentially provide every year.

Should you be wondering why Rowe cares about this cause so much, it's because he's been there. Nearly a quarter of a century ago, after being evicted from his Melbourne apartment, he was homeless - he spent four months living in his car. He knows the despair and the challenges that come with being in such a desperate situation, and in his country alone, there are thousands who sleep in back alleys, on benches and shelters.

Fortunately, Rowe was luckier than most, recovering from his financial troubles and becoming gainfully employed as a chef and an entrepreneur.

GoFundMe/Sleepbus

Rowe's chance encounter inspired him to develop the mobile shelter that will provide homeless families and individuals — and their pets — a safe and warm place to sleep at night.

He has all the designs, engineering and paperwork to get one Sleepbus up and running in Australia. But to purchase and build the first bus, Rowe needs at least $50,000.

GoFundMe/Sleepbus

The good news? On April 13th, within a month of starting the GoFundMe page, he's managed to raise over $52,000.

"I'm not one to cry, but I may have just shed a tear or two of joy for the amazing show of support you have given me and Sleepbus," he wrote in his recent update.

Of course, despite his good intentions, Rowe has also had a few critics voice their opinion.

What happens, he's asked, when a "guest" becomes a troublemaker, or overdoses? Or even dies?

"It's going to happen," he replies "but I don't think we should be afraid of it. If something happens in a SleepBus, there's a better chance that they can get help than if they're under a bridge."

"The bottom line is this: one SleepBus will supply 8,030 nights of sleep and safety every year to some of Australia's less fortunate citizens. Long term, the plan is to have as many as 300 re-purposed buses on the road within six years."

In the meantime you can follow Rowe and his project on his Facebook page, and/or help out on his GoFundMe page.


Read More