Have you ever seen a parking lot full of old buses with weeds so tall they’re growing out the windows? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if somebody figured out a purpose for those giant steel boxes and the massive square footage of sheltered space they offer?
Hawaii’s largest city has done just that. Honolulu’s retired city buses, taken out of commission because of their mileage, not their age, will be re-purposed as shelters, showers and recreational areas for the city’s homeless.
The city has dedicated 70 retired buses to the project, which began after an outcry last year that not enough was being done to solve the problem of homelessness. The architecture firm Group 70 International has taken on the task of redesigning the buses. They say the retrofits can be done with materials available at most hardware stored by untrained volunteers.
Buses will be renovated with three distinct purposes. One style for shelters, with fold down “Murphy beds” and privacy screens, one style for showers and hygienic facilities, and the last for recreational spaces. Buses with front and back doors will be separated in the middle, to be used by two families.
The buses are large, offering as much if not more space than typical RVs.
With the buses themselves secured and some charitable donations collected, Group 70 is now looking for a non-profit to handle the retro-fits. Habitat for Humanity, Jimmy Carter’s favorite charity, has reportedly expressed an interest.
What a fantastic idea. By using what cities routinely discard for scrap value, which is pennies on the dollar of what they’re worth, Honolulu has proven that there are always new and innovative ways to address an issue that has an estimated 100 million on the streets worldwide.
Featured Image via Hawaii News Now