Denton County is on a mission to make sure veterans don’t fall through the cracks.
The United Way of Denton County, or UWDC, has formed a partnership with the Denton County Transportation Authority that will allow free transportation to veterans in crisis.
“It allows us to go beyond the structure of the rail and beyond the routes of the buses,” United Way of Denton County CEO Gary Henderson said. “[It is] that last mile or so to connect veterans to service providers.”
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Through a donation, gift cards will be made available from Lyft along with debit cards from Irving Holdings, which is the parent company of Yellow Cab.
“It’s just such a creative solution,” Henderson said. “Sometimes it’s not practical to put a veteran in crisis on public transportation.”
DCTA and UWDC will provide the following for use by Veterans as part of the new Veterans-in-Crisis Transportation pilot program:
• 50 $15-Lyft gift cards
• 40 $50-Lyft gift cards
• 20 Regional Day Passes for use on DCTA, DART and Trinity Metro bus and rail
• 10 $100 Irving Holdings debit cards
“Here in Denton County, we don’t have a large amount of VA services,” Henderson explained. “Often our veterans who are needing VA related help have to go into South Dallas or Fort Worth for those services.”
The Irving Holdings taxi service will be for veterans with needs and at least two hours’ notice. Lyft will be used for immediate and last-minute transportation needs.
“Sometimes services are 10, 20 or 30 miles away,” Henderson said. “Being able to provide a voucher to the right type of transportation can literally be the difference between a veteran getting help and a veteran not receiving help.”
The cards will be given to pre-selected clients “based on need as determined by UWDC.” The program could expand in the future.