Double decker bus plan to house Doncaster's street sleepers

A former tank driver has brought a double decker bus into Doncaster – to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers.

Friday, 16th August 2019, 15:40 pm

The vehicle has been converted from a conventional passenger vehicle into what is effectively a giant camper van with the capacity to house 10 people. Its beds will be offered to people who are currently homeless.

Volunteers from the DN Street Project hope to have the bus up and running next month in time for the weather starting to get colder.

The bus has previously been used as part of a scheme called the Ark Project, which has been running in Reading, where it is no longer needed.

The Ark Project homeless bus which is coming to Doncaster as part of the DN Street Project

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DN Street Project Director Liam Brook, a former driver with the Light Dragoons, who obtained the appropriate driving license during his time in the army, is picking the vehicle up from Reading today, to drive it to Doncaster, where it is expected to become a common sight.

He and fellow volunteer Nicola Bentley, who has worked with the homeless before, are currently looking for sponsorship for the bus, to help with costs.

They also want to work with official agencies such as Doncaster Council and the police, to help find help for those who use the bus for accommodation.

Fundraising is still ongoing to pay for the full cost of the bus, but the vehicle has been passed on for a downpayment, said Liam.

Liam Brook, director of the DN Street Project

Liam, from Mexborough, and Nicola, of Intake, got in touch with each other through social media after both taking part in online discussions over the town’s problem with rough sleepers.

They currently have 16 volunteers who are prepared to help run the service, and are appealing for more to come forward.

They would like to offer it as a 24 hour service every day, but if the do not have enough volunteers they will only use it at night time.

It is fitted with security cameras and has its own power system, It is planned to site it away from the town centre, to make it less likely that anyone with addiction issues who uses it will buy drugs.

Liam said: “When I came out of the army, I wasn’t out on the streets, but by definition I was homeless, sleeping on people’s sofas, going through the process of getting on the council’s housing list was tough. Ever since then I have always wanted to do something to help.

“We are looking to hold an open day in the near future.”