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Buses being transformed into respite stations for the homeless

One of two school buses purchased by Jersey City, N.J., to convert into mobile shower and laundry stations for homeless women. South Bend Tribune/ROBERT FRANKLIN

A couple of school buses that have been retired from transporting students have been transformed into respite stations for homeless women in Jersey City, N.J.

One of two school buses purchased by Jersey City, N.J., to convert into mobile shower and laundry stations for homeless women. South Bend Tribune/ROBERT FRANKLIN

The city contacted Diamond Trailers/Specialty Vehicles to see if the company could take on outfitting the buses with a couple of showers, a restroom, a washer and dryer as well as a small lounge where visitors can relax until their laundry is finished. “We were humbled that they asked us to take it on,” said Bob Earley, director of sales and marketing for Diamond Trailers/Specialty Vehicles. “We had to do it.”

The respite stations will be able to be moved to where they are needed each day and are also capable of operating with or without city utilities such as water and sewer, said Earley.

School bus being converted into mobile respite station. South Bend Tribune/ROBERT FRANKLIN

Diamond Trailers/Specialty Vehicles has previously built mobile command centers, movie makeup trailers, fire safety houses, bunk houses and high-end restrooms, but this is the first time the company has built a mobile respite station. Early said they decided to take on the project for the challenge as well as an interest in getting involved in helping homeless people. “We’re all part of the same small world,” he said. “Some people are homeless for reasons beyond their control.”