Living out our tagline, Ending Homelessness Together, takes shape in many ways. Recently, we’ve begun partnering with rideshare company, Lyft, and it’s having a life-changing impact on the people we serve.
Lyft is committed to fundamentally improving people’s lives through the world’s best transportation. We, too, know that transportation is a critical component of building wellbeing for clients and helping them reach their full potential.
Over the past six months, Lyft and Caritas of Austin have collaborated on a pilot where Lyft has provided thousands of dollars in free rides to help clients attend classes, medical appointments, and other imperative transportation needs.
“We often see transportation present one of the biggest road blocks to people achieving their goals,” said Stephanie Green, Supportive Housing Program Manager.
“Relying solely on public transportation can take hours of someone’s day just to make a single appointment. And for people with physical limitations, taking to the bus might not even be an option.”
This innovative partnership, marrying Lyft’s desire to improve lives through transportation and Caritas of Austin’s desire to continually expand our layers of support, is enabling our clients to do big things.
Jerry’s Story: Jerry is using Lyft to make significant steps in his education, attaining three certifications in Computer Security and Development and putting him on track to earn one more. Lyft enables Jerry to get to class, study groups, and exams much more quickly and easily than his previous method of transportation (which was an hour commute each way!). As a night student, the reliability and ease of transportation with Lyft has made his commute much less exhausting and much shorter – he can now get to class in less than twenty minutes.
In reflecting upon the impact the partnership with Lyft has had on his life, Jerry stated, “Lyft drivers tend to be early rather than late, and they are quite concerned about your safety and comfort. Lyft really allows me to put more energy into my studies.” Just recently, Jerry utilized Lyft to attend a job fair and multiple rounds of job interviews in his field of study. He has been offered an amazing job with a large technology company with a starting salary that more than covers his monthly expenses.
Barry’s Story: Through Lyft’s services, Barry has seen major health improvements directly related to his ability to get to medical appointments consistently and on time. Before using Lyft, Barry relied on public transportation or a case worker to make it to his appointments each week. Often times, he would walk long distances to appointments or would have to reschedule altogether to avoid the physical pain caused by riding the bus.
“It is a whole lot better with Lyft, not just a little. It’s better than taking multiple buses and showing up late and missing the appointment,” he shared. Knowing Lyft will pick him up at his door and drop him off right in front of the medical center makes it much easier to prepare himself to push through the pain and show up at his appointments.
According to Barry’s RN case manager, Rita DeBellis, of Foundation Communities, “I’ve been working with Barry for nearly a year and despite living with chronic pain and other serious medical conditions, he is an engaged partner in his own health care. Being able to use Lyft for transportation has made a substantial difference and continued services would help him remain focused on wellness” said DeBellis.
When our community is working together, everyone bringing their own skills and resources, ending homelessness for people and helping them reach their full potential is possible. We are grateful for Lyft’s commitment to strengthening the Austin community and for your ongoing support to provide a stable home for people like Jerry and hundreds of other families this year.
Let’s end homelessness together!