Bus Dreams; How One Converted School Bus (“Skoolie”) Can Become a ‘Forever Home’ for a Homeless Family!
Bus Dreams; How One Converted School Bus (“Skoolie”)
Can Become a ‘Forever Home’ for a Homeless Family!
It began as a dream. Literally.
A lifelong journalist, I began covering the rise in homelessness three years ago. I met some of Oregon’s estimated 13,000 people said to be living rough on our streets. I told their stories in local newspapers, through social media and to healthcare organizations.
I dug deeper into the numbers and the lives of the homeless. Some things didn’t add up. Among them the fact that Oregon schools claim there are some 20,000 kids attending school without a stable home. That shows thousands of kids not counted but still homeless—sleeping in the back seats of cars and unheated garages, surviving broken down RV’s with no heat or water and barely a roof.
I met these children. One in particular caught my eye. He was 18 months old attending a meal for the poor, hungry and homeless. He had dirty clothes, no shoes, a runny nose and gorging on sugar while running from one seat to another. He knocked things over, bumped into people and cried loudly and often.
How does a child with no bed to stretch out in, no home cooked and healthy food, nowhere to listen to a story read to him and no shower to clean himself, survive? Could this child have the tools to learn in a classroom?
His image would not leave my mind nor my heart.
Then I had the dream. In it a school bus came to me. It was converted into a small home with red flowers, curtains on the windows and this child looking out. He was clean and calm and happy. The next day I began the work on making this dream happen.
I wrote a blog, not much different than this, and received a response the next day. A woman who operates a family foundation gave us $25,000 in start-up funding. We bought our first beautiful bus for only $5,000 and started working on it. The converted school bus (“Skoolie”)
will be a 240 square foot Eco Nest with everything a little boy needs to grow healthy and strong. It will have a full kitchen with refrigerator, stove, oven and sink along with a pantry so he doesn’t have to fear hunger. It will have a tile shower and toilet, a bedroom for his mom and his own space with a bed, dresser and a place to keep his books and toys. Best of all it will have solar power so his mommy can read him a story before bed. Our first “Skoolie” will be ready for a homeless family to occupy in a few months!
This little home will be parked in an RV park or on a piece of land generously offered where the family will have rent paid initially by our “Forever Home – Vehicles for Change” organization. Eventually, our families will own their Skoolie homes.
We need your help to house as many families as possible because we are certain no child should grow up in the back seat of a car!
Our goal is to produce five converted school bus Forever Homes per year!
I would love it if you would take a moment to check out my GoFundMe campaign:
Your support means a lot to me! Thank you so much!
Julie Anne Christie Akins
*Forever Home is fiscally sponsored by Southern Oregon Jobs for Justice. All donations are tax deductible.