The first steps toward a sleepbus for men sleeping rough in Taree have been taken, with the formation of the informally titled Manning Homeless Men's Action Group.
The committee was formed following a meeting in July to gauge interest in the possibility of getting a Sleep Bus for the area, and the first committee meeting was held on Monday, July 19.
The man behind the idea, Terry Stanton, says he has the support of Rotary Clubs of Wingham, Taree and Taree North, St John's Anglican Church and the Manning Uniting Church.
"The Samaritans and CatholicCare are also very supportive, because they need this bus; they've got nowhere to put people when they're in need of accommodation," Terry said.
Terry has been in contact with sleepbus founder, Simon Rowe, who will be providing the bus if our community can raise the $100,000 needed.
Sleepbus is a non-profit organisation that converts old buses into temporary sleeping accommodation for homeless people. Simon Rowe says there are currently three in operation, at Melbourne, Canberra and Queanbeyan. He is in the process of creating two for Maroochydore and two for Byron Bay.
The Samaritans and CatholicCare are also very supportive, because they need this bus; they've got nowhere to put people when they're in need of accommodation.Terry Stanton
Once the money is raised, Simon can start converting a bus for our community.
"It can happen pretty quick if the community gets behind it and you get one or two rich people who like the idea," he said.
Simon breaks down the $100,000 as $20,000 to obtain a secondhand bus and make modifications, $60,000-$70,000 to do the fitout, and $10,000-$20,000 to get it serviced and ready for operation.
The Manning Homeless Men's Action Group is holding another public meeting on Wednesday, August 4, 2pm at the Manning Uniting Church auditorium to update the community and to start the ball rolling on the fundraising process.
"We want to attract people who are interested in supporting the project by either making donations or getting groups or churches or organisations they belong to to do some fundraising," Terry said.
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