A double-decker bus destined for the scrapheap is set for a new lease of life — as a homeless shelter. 

The bus has already done 19 years of service in Birmingham, but it will now be given a £50,000 transformation, paid for by donations, to help tackle homelessness in the city. 

The project is being spearheaded and funded by Birmingham’s Rotary Club, one of an international network of humanitarian and community service organisations. 

Take action: Thank the UK for Pledging to Keep 880,000 Kids in School — But Ask Them to Do More in April

All 75 seats from inside the bus will be removed and replaced with nine sleeping pods, according to the Shelter Bus website. There will also be an area to prepare food, an eating space, a private consultation room, a toilet, and a shower.

“We adapted it slightly as we wanted it to be mobile and we wanted to do it in Birmingham because of the sheer number of rough sleepers in the city,” Luca Buratti, from Rotary Shelter Bus Project, said

“There are so many services on offer to help the homeless in Birmingham, but this will be the only mobile shelter we know of,” he added. 

Read more: Beggars to Receive £100 Fines in This UK Town — and People Are Outraged

The bus, which has been donated by the National Express, is currently in Stratford-upon-Avon but will soon move to Sheffield for the renovation work to be carried out, according to ITV News

After the transformation, set to take around six weeks, it will drive around locations in central Birmingham. 

National Express said it was “delighted” that one of its redundant vehicles will be put to good use. 

“This bus has already given many years loyal service to the people of Birmingham and this exciting new life will enable it to continue to support many more who need a bit of a helping hand,” said a spokesman. 

Read more: Plans to Remove Homeless People Before Harry & Meghan's Wedding 'Withdrawn'

Retired vehicles have previously been donated to schools, to be converted into classrooms, libraries, and activity centres.  

Birmingham City Council said in January that it is committed to eradicating homelessness after the number of people sleeping rough in the city rose to 57 people, up from 55 people in 2016 — and a significant rise from just nine people in 2010. 

“We recognise that we still have a challenge ahead of us to achieve our vision of eradicating homelessness in Birmingham, including the number of people rough sleeping,” said Councillor Peter Griffiths, the city’s lead for housing and homes. 

Read more: This Rapper Helped Give 'Shameful' Anti-Homeless Benches a Perfect Makeover

Across England, the number of people sleeping rough was revealed in January to have reached the highest it’s ever been — with some 4,751 people sleeping on the street in 2017, up 15% from 2016.

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals, which include action on creating sustainable cities and communities, including access to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and basic services for all. You can join us by taking action here


Demand Equity

A Double-Decker Bus Is Being Turned Into a Homeless Shelter

By Imogen Calderwood