How Transportation Assistance Can Fight Homelessness
A piece in CALmatters explores the opportunity for California cities to provide transportation assistance as a preventative measure to fight homelessness and poverty.
Research has shown that transportation access is the single biggest factor in helping people avoid homelessness; it's critical to holding down a job, getting to school, keeping service appointments, and many more aspects of daily life.
Yet transportation is also unaffordable to many people struggling with poverty, especially since many cities don't offer subsidies for lower-income transit riders. Seattle's transit programs, however, are praised by advocates as models for California cities: King County launched low-income discounted fares in 2015 and distributes free passes through homeless service organizations, and the city of Seattle recently made passes free for high school students.
But even free transit is no good if it doesn't get you where you need to go. A study in San Diego found that 30 times as many jobs were accessible by car than by public transit—but that the situation could be improved by improving connections to transit stations.