A council officer issuing the One Voice Mobile Shower Bus with a parking fine on Friday. Photo: Facebook The parking fine posted to the One Voice Mobile Shower Busy at City Square on Friday. Photo: Facebook
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The charity behind the city’s shower bus for the homeless says Melbourne City Council needs to work better with homelessness organisations, after the pioneering bus was given a parking fine on Friday night.

The shower bus, which provided 16 showers to homeless people camping in City Square on Friday, was given a $91 fine and told to move on by council officers.

The milk-crate protest camp was pulled down on Friday morning, on orders from the council, but many rough sleepers and protesters remain at the site.

One Voice founder Josh Wilkins said the shower bus visited City Square every week, parking in the bus zone on Collins Street, and had never been issued a fine previously.

He also said the bus zone sign had no time limit written on it.

“It’s wrong to be pushing us out of the city, they should be working with us so we can help some of these guys,” Mr Wilkins said.

“There’s been days where our showers, I believe, have stopped people committing suicide.

“They’re so depressed and down, but when they walk out of that shower it’s like a new day, a new world and they sit down and converse with us.”

The organisation posted photos of the parking fine on the One Voice Facebook page, and almost 2000 people have since shared the photos, with some offering to pay the charity’s fine.

“It went pretty viral, there’s a lot of support out there and it shows the public do support homeless people and I think we all need to stand up and do something,” Mr Wilkins said.

“For way too long councils have been putting band-aid solutions on things, we need to invest money in long term solutions. And work with us to create a space so that we can work with people.”

The shower bus has been operating around Melbourne since December, Mr Wilkins said. The service has increased to four days a week and visits City Square every week.

He said the service was about socialising, as much as providing a good shower.

“There were quite a few people around [on Friday], we hung out, we chatted and we had an Uno competition going on,” Mr Wilkins said.

“It’s relationships these guys miss, they don’t like being treated like a number.”

Mr Wilkins sent Lord Mayor Robert Doyle an email on Thursday to set up a meeting to discuss the housing situation and to try and form a better relationship with council.

“Hopefully something good comes of this, and maybe we can band together with other services to work with council and have a spot where we can operate from,” he said.

But the council appears unimpressed by the appeal.

“The bus was offered numerous opportunities to move but refused,” a spokesman said.  “This incident is an issue concerning traffic flow and public transport which is a matter of safety during peak times.”

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