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This Australian guy is buying 300 charter buses for an incredible reason.

100,000 homeless folks. 300 busses. And one simple solution.

This Australian guy is buying 300 charter buses for an incredible reason.

In 1993, Simon Rowe hit hard times, and the only place he had to sleep at night was his car.

Two decades later, and no longer homeless, Rowe started looking for a way to give people who are homeless in Melbourne, Australia — like he had been — a place to lay their heads at night.

He explored a bunch of options, and eventually he decided to buy a charter bus, which he’s calling the Sleep Bus.


Rowe in his first bus. All photos from Sleep Bus, used with permission.

Rowe plans to use a fleet of more than 300 buses to aid Australia’s struggling homeless population.

Over 100,000 people are homeless in Australia right now, and more than 6,000 don’t have a place to sleep. Sleep Bus will hopefully provide these folks with private temporary living spaces to rest while they get on their feet again.

Image by Sleep Bus, used with permission.

To fund his passion project, Simon set up a GoFundMe campaign to scrounge up the funds for his first bus.

Within a month’s time, the campaign received donations from all across the globe. Wildly, they raised not only enough money for the first bus, but they're very close to fully funding their pilot program too, which Simon plans to launch in June 2016.

Sleep Bus is similar to a shelter, but with some key differences.

The Sleep Bus is designed to give every occupant their own personal space. Every bus will have 22 sleep pods, two toilets, a personal locker for each guest, eight kennels for animals, and a security system.

Parents will also be given control over the lock of their children’s pods, and there will be an intercom system between them. The bus’s mobility will also allow it to set up camp wherever people who are homeless congregate, as homeless populations tend to change with the seasons.

As for the pods, they’re set up more like hotel rooms than shelters — and that’s a good thing.

Each pod will be outfitted with its own freshly washed linens, a charging station for electronics, a door with a lock that each guest will have control over, climate control, and a television. In addition to regular programming, the TVs in the pods will have a special channel running ads for local support services.

“The TV is strategic, the TV is to help people stay calm, stay quiet ... but it’s also about connection as well,” Rowe explained. “It’s for that connection — to catch up on the news, or shows they used to watch, or to find out what’s happening in the world that they may have missed. To start them thinking on the path out of homelessness.”

But a place to sleep is, of course, only one piece of the puzzle that is homelessness.

Rowe acknowledges that Sleep Bus is just one solution to one problem for people who are homeless. They also need clothing, food, somewhere to shower, a pathway to permanent shelter, and — as Rowe pointed out — hygiene products for women. “As a man, I’d never thought of that before,” he admitted.

But he also hopes that the buses will be a good place to start, especially because a good night’s rest is a stepping stone toward aiding the even bigger issue of mental illness among the homeless.

Some reports indicate that in Australia up to 85% of folks without a home suffer from severe mental illness. Lack of sleep tends to make existing mental health conditions worse, and some symptoms of mental health problems can be alleviated by sleep. This makes resources like the Sleep Bus an important piece in solving the problem that is homelessness.

Sleep Bus has a lot of potential — but it all starts with that first bus.

There’s still a lot of work to do until the first buses launch in June, but that hasn’t deterred Rowe in the slightest. In fact, the short timeline seems to have energized him.

"Perhaps a young lad has problems with mom and dad, ends up out on the street,” Rowe said, "We'll catch this person. They won't fall deeper into the cycle of homelessness."

Simon hard at work converting his new bus into a Sleep Bus.

Rowe's unique idea for helping people "sleeping rough" on the streets is one filled with hope, and it has resonated with thousands of people already.

If you're interested in learning more and potentially helping Sleep Bus, you can consider donating on Rowe's GoFundMe page.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.