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DHHS: Transportation Assistance Program helps people find their way home
From the Department of Health and Human Services:
New numbers from the Humboldt County Department of the Health and Human Services (DHHS) show that the department’s Transportation Assistance Program (TAP) has helped nearly 1,500 people get on the road to new opportunities over the last seven years.
Launched in November 2006, TAP lends a hand to individuals and families that need financial help moving from Humboldt County to another area where they have either a job waiting for them or family members or friends willing to offer support and assistance. During the first two weeks of January, TAP has helped people stranded in the county get back to areas as far away as Southern California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Oregon, Texas and Tennessee.
“Sometimes people have opportunities waiting for them in other areas and they just need help getting there,” said Rex Bohn, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “This program helps people go to places where they have the best chance to succeed and be self-sufficient, which is usually back to their county of origin.”
To increase awareness about the Transportation Assistance Program, DHHS staffers have connected with close to 50 organizations and businesses to educate them about the TAP program. DHHS is also creating partnerships with several local groups in an effort to help eligible individuals and families apply for the program.
“Working together as a community, we can best use our resources to help people find their way home or to new employment opportunities,” said District 5 Supervisor Ryan Sundberg. “Through these outreach efforts, we hope more people will hear about the benefits of TAP.”
To qualify, a person must be at least 18 years old or a child in the care of an eligible parent. He or she must be able to provide identification and a Social Security number and have less than $150 in cash, checks or other available funds. DHHS staff members are available to help applicants obtain any necessary identification, contact friends or family members and make referrals to assist with medical conditions that may prevent a person from traveling with the program.
People eligible for transportation assistance may receive a non-refundable bus ticket to their destination or gas money if they have their own registered and insured vehicle. A meal allowance is provided for each day of travel.
From November 2006 to December 2013, TAP received 2,233 applications. Of those, 1,494 met all eligibility requirements.
Recently, TAP helped one couple who had come to Humboldt County in the summer of 2013 in hopes of a brand new start in life. They fell in love with Garberville and decided to set up roots in Southern Humboldt. New friends temporarily housed the pair, and both of he and she started to look for work in the area.
After months of applying for jobs locally to no avail, the woman applied for work in Pennsylvania, where her family lived. That employer hired her, but the couple had no means to get home. They had heard of TAP, they met all of the eligibility requirements and soon were on their way to the East Coast to start anew. Not long after the couple used TAP services, DHHS received a letter from the woman stating, “You have saved me by doing this and have gotten me to where I do have a fighting chance now.”
To apply for the Transportation Assistance Program, call or stop by any of the following DHHS locations:
Social Services main office, 929 Koster St. Eureka. (707-269-4106)
Hoopa Outstation, K’ima:w Medical Center, 1200 Airport Road, Hoopa (530-625-4251)
Garberville Outstation, 727 Cedar St., Garberville. (707-923-2759).