A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Lexington’s new upLIFT program offers free Lextran transportation services for city’s homeless

Lexington is partnering with Lextran to launch upLIFT, a new program that will offer free, conditional transportation services for the area’s homeless population.

The program’s goal is to eliminate one of the most common barriers — transportation — for those who are homeless and seeking employment, medical services, child care, housing or other basic living activities.

“Giving a person unlimited access to transportation to resolve their homelessness is a game changer for this city,” said Polly Ruddick, director of the Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention. “We know that it is virtually impossible to locate, secure, and maintain housing without the ability to commute within a city. This program, along with our other efforts, goes a long way toward eliminating barriers that historically have made it difficult for the homeless to obtain and maintain housing.”

Lexington’s upLIFT program is the first of its kind in the state. It is expected to serve approximately 1,800 people — including children and families — within its first year.

In order to be eligible for the upLIFT program, participants must meet two requirements:

1. Individuals/families must be currently residing in a Lexington emergency shelter or transitional housing program; and

2. Individuals/families must have a housing plan in place and actively be working with an agency case manager.

Once qualified, the upLIFT participant will receive a “Tap Card” that will include an identifying photo. With this card, participants will then be able use Lextran’s transportation services at no cost.

Through upLIFT, the City will be able to track valuable data that will shape the future of the program and measure its success. Output data will include the number of passes used, the most common routes individuals are taking and if individuals are able to obtain permanent housing, increased income or other increased benefits through the program.

Funding for upLIFT is provided by the Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention as part of its continuing efforts to reduce homelessness in Lexington and Fayette County.

For more information on the Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention, including the new Homeless ID Assistance program and the Medical Respite Program, visit lexingtonky.gov.

From City of Lexington

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