The ride sharing service Lyft is moving into philanthropy, and the Portland houseless are its latest beneficiaries.
On June 27, the transportation company and Central City Concern announced a pilot program to provide cheap Lyft rides to jobs for formerly homeless workers.
The program will run through December and offers 30 rides for each participant at a flat rate of $1.50.
Lyft will also provide free rides to and from job interviews.
"There are many barriers to overcoming homelessness – reliable, convenient transportation to employment is one of them," said Rachel Solotaroff, Central City Concern President and CEO, in a statement. "We're thrilled to partner with Lyft to alleviate some of this burden for our clients."
The new Portland program stems out of Lyft's City Works Program, which the company formed earlier this spring. Lyft pledged to donate 1% of its annual profits, or $50 million dollars annually—whichever is the higher sum—to help create a clean energy future, provide affordable transportation to the most vulnerable and improve cities' infrastructure.
Lyft rolled out its program for the homeless in Los Angeles in March.
"Lack of transportation access can be a major barrier in people's everyday lives — including when they need to get to job interviews, healthcare appointments, and even to the polls to vote," Lyft's City Works website says. The program will provide rides for veterans, the medically disabled, low-income seniors and the houseless.
Clay Cooper, senior director of employment services at Central City Concern says the grant will "enable clients who haven't received their first paycheck to use Lyft to commute to locations that are difficult to access on public transportation due to location or limited hours of operation.
Central City Concern provides employment resources for the homeless population through its Employment Access Center. Cooper says that within the past year, their employment center aided 1,300 people and placed over 810 of those with jobs.