There are a number of factors that contribute to homelessness – circumstances can range from families fleeing domestic violence, lack of affordable housing and racial disparities to the challenges of being a single parent and facing various hardships.
While each story is unique, for most of those experiencing homelessness, the chief cause of their homelessness is poverty.
At RunningWorks, we promote a work-first approach to ending and preventing homelessness in that we believe in empowering team members with the knowledge and tools they need to secure and maintain employment. Once employed and educated on financial management, they are better prepared to afford, secure and maintain housing.
However, we have found that a lack of transportation is a major challenge for many of our neighbors in need. Those looking for work have difficulty getting to interviews. Others have been unable to accept jobs because they did not have reliable transportation.
Last fall, we launched a transportation fundraising campaign, which we kicked off in conjunction with Giving Tuesday 2017. Our goal was to go “30 for 30” and raise $30,000 to provide a year of transportation for 30 neighbors. Thanks to the generosity of our community supporters and partners, we achieved our fundraising goal.
Providing bus passes to our team members has been a major incentive for the program. We offer monthly bus passes to assist team members who need assistance with transportation. This service has proven to be helpful as we have seen an increase in the number of team members who have secured employment, housing and/or enrolled in GED programs, college or vocational training.
“Since I joined RunningWorks a little over a year ago, I’ve gone from living in a homeless shelter to stable housing,” says Veronica, a RW team member and U.S. Air Force veteran. “With the blessing of a bus pass from RunningWorks, I’m able to attend and volunteer at my church, attend and volunteer nightly at various 12-step meetings, and get to all of my VA medical appointments.”
Thanks to the generosity of the community during our first ever Giving Tuesday campaign, the team has raised enough money to provide a year of transportation to 30 neighbors in need.
“The sky is the limit as we continue to grow and challenge the stigma associated with homelessness and all marginalized populations,” said RW Founder Meredith Dolhare. “To say that we’re excited about the year to come and the work we’ll be able to accomplish would be an understatement.”