According to Toronto Public Health (TPH), close to 100 people struggling with homelessness died in Toronto in 2017. On average, that’s close to two deaths a week. Over the past couple of years, homelessness has become a serious issue, especially in our winter months when sleeping rough can become fatal.
While shelters are doing their best to meet demand, they are often overcrowded and strain to accommodate the amount of people wanting to use their services.
To help alleviate this issue, Humanity First is launching its Humanity First Shelter Bus project. The Shelter Bus will be a repurposed coach bus, optimized to provide a safe, comfortable place to sleep overnight. It will be outfitted with 20 beds, a kitchenette, lounge space, bathrooms and wifi.
Why a mobile shelter?
The Shelter Bus will not only cost less than a traditional shelter to operate, but its mobility will be a huge asset. We will be able to take the bus to areas where need is greatest, and respond to shifting shelter needs. For example, urban shelters are overcapacity in the winter months, dealing with novel challenges each night.
The Shelter Bus could be dispatched to any location to respond to urgent need. It can also reach remote areas and be used to house people who have been temporarily displaced.
Along with providing a place to sleep and other necessary facilities, we hope that our bus will raise awareness of the issues of homelessness.
The shelter bus idea was developed by WSP Transportation business line staff as an effective second life for these assets. The advisory board is comprised of seasoned veterans of the transit and hospitality business including our own Eric Piessel EVP of Transportation.
Every year, 900 buses in Canada are disposed of, often in the middle of their full life. What if, instead of leaving these buses to rust, we repurposed them to serve our underserved communities?
To learn more about the project please visit www.shelterbus.ca
WSP Double your impact
WSP Canada is partnering with Humanity First shelterbus project. To encourage employee support and donations WSP Canada will match any donation received up to $5,000. Employees who donate will be provided a tax receipt.