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#WATWB – Turning Old School Buses Into Tiny Homes – Goodnet

Welcome to this month’s edition of #WATWB- We are the World Blogfest, where the last Friday of the month, we share some of the good things going on in the world to deflect from the negative. For this edition I wanted to shed light on a good deed doer who came up with a great idea to help give the homeless homes by converting old school buses into ‘skoolies’ – tiny homes.


Turning School Buses Into Tiny Homes for Homeless Families


Everyone needs  a roof over their heads. It could be a villa, an apartment in the sky, a cabin in the woods, or a converted school bus.

For Julie Atkins, turning old school buses into tiny homes for working homeless families is a great solution. She came up with the idea when she was a freelance journalist living in Ashland Oregon when she began researching and chronicling the stories of homeless people according to People.

She spent two years pitching a tent and living alongside homeless people in Denver Colorado. What she found was, “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,” Atkins told People.

Then she came across families living in old school buses.  She met a family with seven children who had ripped out the seats and were living on mattresses on the floor of the bus. “It was in disarray,” said Akins. “There was no toilet, shower, or kitchen.”

That’s when the idea for Vehicles for Change was born. Atkins thought that the buses have 240 square feet (22 square meters) of space and are retired from school districts when they are only 12 years-old so they are in good shape. You could add electricity, a kitchen, as well as a bathroom, and house a family in a “skoolie” converted bus. She launched the nonprofit in 2017. Please continue reading The Skoolie Bus Project


Below is a video where Julie Atkins talks about her idea to fund old school buses to convert into tiny homes.



If you’d like to be part of the #WATWB, you can visit our Facebook group, and add the link to your post there. 



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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.


  • Janet Gogerty

    It’s awful that every country can still have homeless families and parents even have their children taken into care. Amazing lady to actually manage to get up and do something.

    • dgkaye

      Thank you Janet, and so true! I do hope by all of us sharing these wonderful ideas to contribute to a better well being for others catches on through spreading the word. 🙂

  • Annika Perry

    Debby, thank you so much for sharing this story. It shows the difference one person can make … Julie is inspiring and a heartwarming tale of love and care winning through and helping others. Yet, so sad that others are homeless and their courage and fortitude shines through.

  • Norah Colvin

    What a wonderful project, Debby. It’s so good to hear about Julie. It proves that dreams can come true. I think Julie must be one of those Earth Angels you wrote about recently. 💖

  • Marian Beaman

    Like you, I enjoy observing how old things are repurposed to meet a need. This is a capital idea!

    Many years ago, my brother-in-law bought an old school bus to use as a moving van, helping my sister and family make the huge transition from Michigan to Florida. Of course, he sold it after they moved their stuff into a new household. My sister was a little embarrassed about the whole deal, but they saved a little of money in the process.

    • dgkaye

      No, that’s a fabulous idea. We all know how much moving costs. If you could buy an old school bus laid to rest for a few thousand, it’s way cheaper, especially across country. Then instead of selling, one could donate the bus after? 🙂

    • dgkaye

      My absolute pleasure Deb. It certainly is heartwarming to learn about such a great idea to help out those who are struggling worse than others. <3

  • lisa thomson

    Fantastic share, Deb! What a brilliant idea Julie had and is putting into action. It’s very cool that after a year of rent free, they have the option of buying with an interest free mortgage. I wonder how many would opt for that.

  • Diana Peach

    This is such an awesome idea. I love tiny homes in general and appreciate it that people are beginning to question whether they really need plywood palaces. It’s a wonderful solution for homelessness and other housing challenges. Thanks for inspiring, Debby. 🙂

  • Hilary

    Hi Debby – this is great … I’ve seen similar – and it’s wonderful that the States, Canada and Australia all have room to expand … here – we’re a little short of that. Yet designers are coming up with all sorts of ideas – as Jacqui mentions … containers. Loved watching the video and seeing the project with Julie and her client/friends ready to move in … great idea – cheers Hilary

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much Hilary. Yes, amazing how far we can take recycling and give new life to those in need! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your inspiration. <3

  • susan scott

    I don’t know if this is a duplicate comment from me Debby, I was so sure I had responded. Maybe on the original article. I am pretty taken with the idea of small and compact homes for the homeless. Re-purposing is almost like recycling … great post and thank you for sharing. Containers are also being used to build homes, not just for the homeless and turning them into avant garde gorgeous homes ..

    • dgkaye

      Thank you Susan. Yes, I do believe you have commented, lol, but you are welcome to add thoughts back anytime! Yes, someone else mentioned containers – another great idea. All one has to do is add windows! 🙂

  • Balroop Singh

    This is a wonderful post to share Deb and whosoever thought of this brilliant idea to convert old school buses into homes must be a blessed soul. We need many more such ventures to root out the problem of homelessness. Thanks for the highlight.

  • Sylvia McGrath

    This is a wonderful post to share Deb and whosoever thought of this brilliant idea to convert old school buses into homes must be a blessed soul. We need many more such ventures to root out the problem of homelessness. Thanks for the highlight.

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story Debbie, Julie must be a really caring person. We need more people with ideas like this to help the homelessness all over the world.

  • Belinda Witzenhausen

    For years I worked in social housing and the issue of homelessness in close to my heart. Day in, day out, I would meet people and heard many stories, most of them utterly heartbreaking. I absolutely love this post, it’s so incredibly heartwarming and I’m impressed with Julie Atkins’ passion and determination. Thanks so much for sharing this and for being a part of #WATWB! Hope you have a wonderful week!

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much Belinda. Happy to warm your heart. And I do hope this message spreads far and wide so that others may consider donating old school buses. 🙂 Happy week to you too <3

  • Liesbet

    I think I remember reading about this journalist, living among homeless people to understand their fate a bit better. What a great initiative!

    We have met many families who live and travel in converted school buses or skoolies. Some are of the shorter kind, others of the longer kind. These are not homeless people per se, but families who want the explore the country this way.

    Actually, one of my very first articles that was published, was about a friend of mine who had converted a short skoolie into her “Love Bus”. That was in 2007. 🙂

  • Sue Dreamwalker

    What a great share Debby,
    This problem is escalating beyond anything we can imagine.. I watched a Documentary on the BBC as a journalist travelled the breadth of America, and in it he highlighted also the plight of Homelessness especially in LA.. Where he said there were up to 45,000 people homeless sleeping rough in tents etc in full view on the streets.. And how every morning they are cleared away etc.. And the process of other places now making homelessness illegal as the police move and ‘remove’ people..
    Horrendous statistics in this day and age, especially when families who have worked hard find themselves in these circumstances..
    The story about the woman who had her children taken into care.. breaks our hearts..

    I know in our area we see more and more individuals sleeping rough, but its not as bad I think as in the USA where whole families find themselves homeless..
    Many thanks for bringing the awareness and sharing that video.. So many good people in the world whose love and energy are helping so many who go unsung..
    Love and Light my friend <3

    • dgkaye

      So true Sue, it’s the good people in the world who will save it. I know it’s a horrendous problem in the US, not that we don’t have our share in my city and yours, but I think that’s because at least our countries have universal healthcare. In the US one tragic illness takes all their life savings. Absolutely frightening. Yes, love and light my friend. Let us keep our sights on the light. <3 xoxo

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