Lyft has partnered up with Caritas of Austin to help those who were once homeless get back on their feet.
The ride sharing company has allowed case managers for the organization that works to prevent and end homelessness to distribute funding and rides to its clients in an effort to make a positive impact in the lives of local residents.
One of those Caritas clients is Ty Follett. Follett has seen his share of challenges in life. At one time he was facing homeless and serious health issues. Transportation was a major obstacle on his path to success.
Today, Follett says he no longer worries about how he is going to get to medical or personal appointments around town.
General Manager for Lyft Austin Aaron Fox says, "One ride isn't what makes a difference usually in someone's life. It's that reliable everyday transportation that they don't have and now they do, that over time, really enables them to advance their goals."
It's an opportunity to get back to a sense of normalcy and receive invaluable human interaction.
"When you've experienced homelessness, you sort of lose a sense of your own humanity and feeling like you're a part of the fabric of Austin. So, one of those things that we often hear from them is what a joy it is just to interact with other Austinites," says Caritas of Austin Communications Manager Lindsey Dickson.
There are currently ten Caritas of Austin clients in the pilot program which began about six months ago. Follett and his service dog are a hit among drivers.
"A lot of these drivers, we'll forget where my stopping point is. We'll just laugh and have fun and they just love Charlie," Follett says.
Since the start of the partnership, Follett now works four to five days a week and he says he no longer needs major surgery on his gall bladder. Follett says he hopes the partnership will continue to help achieve future life goals.
The pilot program has been so successful that both organizations have agreed to extend the partnership for an additional six months.
Lyft says it hopes to continue to the program indefinitely for the benefit of Caritas clients as long as there is a need in the Austin community.
For more information about Caritas of Austin you can go here.