A freelance journalist named Julie Akins who is based in Ashland, Oregon noticed that families living in school buses during a road trip.
She met a family who was living in a blue bus with their seven children. The place was full of mattresses on the floor, tubs full of clothes and a stacked bookcase.
“It was in disarray,” says Akins, 58. “There was no toilet, shower or kitchen.”
When Akins met the family, the father of those seven children was in hospice as he got too sick and could not complete the renovation.
After meeting other families who were living in buses, Akins decided to convert school buses into nice, livable spaces with kitchens and bathrooms for working homeless families.
“They want to have a place to live that is their own, that’s safe — and they want to be mobile, so they can get better jobs,” says Akins.
About 18 months ago, Akins launched the non-profit Vehicles for Changes. Alex Daniell, 57, has spent several years in designing and building tiny houses for the homeless in Eugene, Oregon, and he even helped develop Opportunity Village and Emerald Village.
He said: “This is a project that I really think can have an impact.”
Daniell thinks that retired school buses are better than tiny homes because of the cost.
“I’m hopeful,” he says of the concept.
The Flood family had to leave their house because of the late payment of rent on June 24, 2018. Their landlord was “very gracious” in the past but this time she didn’t.
He and his 37-year-old wife, Jennifer, and their three kids — Raylee, 11, David Jr., 9, and Noah, 2 had to live in a tent at a campground through the summer.
According to PEOPLE: ‘’His wife saw Akins on the news talking about her new non-profit and remembered that they had met Akins a few years ago, when they were all riding a city bus while Akins’ car was in the shop.
The Floods applied, and on Thanksgiving Day last year, the family moved into their new home.Akins offered to paint the bus any color they wanted, but they insisted it stay yellow. They call it their “Yellow Submarine. ”
Flood said: “As a family, we used to always sing, ‘We all live in a Yellow Submarine,’”
“And that came true.”
Daniell said: “The idea of getting used, donated buses from schools and then converting them with volunteer labor — it’s very appealing to me,”
“It’s so community-oriented.”
“The end product results from keeping a family from breaking apart,”
“My experience with the homeless is: if the families don’t get split apart, and the kids stay in school, they don’t end up on the street. Once somebody’s been on the street for a while, it’s hard to find their way back in.”
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