AFTER the doors shut down on their last refuge for the day, the clock was ticking down on Canberra's homeless women and children clamouring to find shelter.
The bean-counting providers were closed for the day and there really is nowhere else to go.
But, finally, Canberra's most vulnerable can see the bright side of a cold night much like the pink on the new mobile home ahead of its lunchtime launch on Saturday (June 19).
The motor is running on the Canberra Sleepbus departing from Tuggeranong in the search to provide females aged over 55 and their young family shelter out of the elements.
Founder Simon Rowe feels a sense of purpose after several months spent detailing the bus with creature comforts that even for one night only can make for a better sleep.
"The reason why it came about was because we had too many women and children rocking up to our normal service and speaking to various people in women's charities," he said.
"I said, 'Why don't I just make one for women and children to make them feel a bit more comfortable?' and they said absolutely.
"We need to see how it's going to go - obviously, there has been a perceived demand by the organisations that fundraised for it and they found a need.
"There seems to be a lack of an emergency accommodation too after 5pm.
"I spoke with ACT police and they're all behind it because they don't have anywhere to take people if they find women on the street because there is nowhere to take them after dark."
The community-funded project that stays a float on a day-to-day basis from philanthropy support of the territory's supplier of household water, but really became a reality after the National Council of Women ACT raised the $100,000 to construct the 22 moving bedrooms.
The harsh Canberra winters have never looked so comfortable for women who would shake in fear sleeping on the streets as much as they would out of encroaching hypothermia.
"It's all fallen into place at the right time," Mr Rowe said.
But something was still missing to reach all stops of the Melbourne man's grand plan.
Volunteer numbers were still lagging in single figures until a "CityNews" campaign attracted more than 50 calls of interest.
That all but ensured the bus could run from three nights a week to every night in time.
"We always say sign up and show up are two very different things," Mr Rowe said.
The recruitment drive has also benefited the nearby Queanbeyan wheels that can also add Monday and Thursday nights next week to extend the service to four days a week.
It will also speed up the training of the volunteers, Mr Rowe said.
"It should be quicker with the Canberra bus, as I know a lot of Canberra people came and trained up at Queanbeyan sleepbus, which is awesome," he said.
The hard work done behind the scenes fitting out a vehicle that was never made to protect humans on the fringes from the elements, let alone protect its passengers from crime at night almost never happened.
The outbreak of the ongoing pandemic put the brakes on a similar sleepbus in Melbourne, but not the need to serve this capital's renowned cold.
"Canberra has had it pretty tough because obviously Covid hit and that held it up," he said.
"I made the decision to focus on the Queanbeyan first because we had a sponsor for that and we knew we would get started on it.
"So it's been a long time coming for Canberra and it will be great to show it off to people."
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