'Wheels to Work' program to give rides to homeless

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Last Modified: Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 - 8:53 am

Homeless people looking for work will be able to get rides to job interviews and training programs, thanks to a new program sponsored by a group of public and private agencies.

"The Wheels to Work" program officially kicked off Tuesday morning in Sacramento. It is a collaboration of Paratransit Inc., Women's Empowerment, the Sacramento Housing Alliance, Sacramento Steps Forward, the county Department of Human Assistance and the state Department of Rehabilitation.

The partnership began with Thunder Valley Casino's donation of two 14-passenger shuttle vans to homeless agencies, said Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the housing alliance.

Paratransit and the human services department pursued federal funding to register, insure, repair and retrofit the vans, and the housing alliance connected with service providers to coordinate a transportation program for their homeless clients.

About 30 percent of homeless people identify the lack of transportation as a "significant barrier" to getting employment, Erlenbusch said. The vans will transport homeless men and women to job interviews, training programs, a mobile computer lab and other employment-related activities.

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