OYH Rideshare Project provides over 4,000 rides for Minnesotans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Studies show that the lack of affordable, reliable and effective transit options rank as a top barrier for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless to achieve housing and self-sufficiency. Without reliable transportation, the homeless cannot access the kinds of employment, services, and social connections necessary to improve their lives and enhance self-reliance. Auto ownership is cost prohibitive for many and the lack of transportation options, especially in Greater Minnesota, causes and perpetuates homelessness in rural and small-town communities.
The recent growth of a new model of expanding Rideshare opportunities provided primarily by Lyft and Uber has presented an option that has the potential to address many of the limitations of public transit by expanding service areas and hours of available service. Therefore, Open Your Heart developed an innovative 12-month demonstration project to determine if a rideshare model can improve homeless/at risk populations in accessing kinds of care and support to improve their lives.
In 2018, Open Your Heart implemented the Rideshare Demonstration Project. Project participants included six non-profit agencies providing emergency and self-sufficiency services to people who are homeless or at high risk. As of December 31, 2018, with $40,000 in funding and technical support from Open Your Heart, 4,204 rides were provided in the Mankato (1,351), Moorhead (487), Rochester (623) and St. Cloud (1,743) communities to individuals who were currently homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Rides were used primarily to provide access to crisis services, court, education, employment, housing, medical appointments, and any other services designed to enhance self-sufficiency.
As a result of the Rideshare Demonstration Project, participating agencies repeatedly reported that having rides provided to their clients through rideshare enabled their staff to use their time more efficiently. Additionally, it helped their clients secure housing, work towards maintaining employment and much more. Without the Rideshare Demonstration Project, their low-income clients would have had to pay for their own transportation or not have received necessary services at all. Furthermore, participating agencies would have had their staff drive their clients, which based on results added up to thousands of miles traveled.
Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless partners with local businesses and foundations as we increase access to care and support for the very poor and vulnerable in Greater Minnesota communities through our RideShare Demonstration Project. Below is a list of partners who are helping Open Your Heart remove transportation barriers in order to improve the lives and enhance the self-reliance of the homeless in Greater Minnesota.
Sexton Family Foundation
The Janice Gardner Foundation
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