Lyft is launching a new pilot program in Seattle designed to help people experiencing homelessness access emergency shelter services.
The transportation company will fund all rides for people offered shelter through the King County Family Emergency Shelter Intake Line from now until December. The six-month pilot was born out of a survey conducted by Seattle non-profit Mary’s Place which found that the number one reason people were unable to access shelter in 2018 was transportation.
If the pilot is a success, Lyft says it will renew its partnership with Mary’s Place after December. Lyft is also providing $7,500 in ride credits to be allocated by the Mary’s Place Women’s Day Center to help clients access services and job interviews.
The Mary’s Place partnership is part of a broader initiative called Lyft City Works, a philanthropic program that works with nonprofits around the country to help underserved communities access transportation. Lyft has committed to donating 1 percent of profits or $50 million, whichever is greater, to charities that work on urban issues each year.
The Pacific Northwest has emerged as a testbed for philanthropic initiatives for both Lyft and Uber. In 2017, Uber launched its Community Impact Initiative in 2017 in Seattle and Portland. The program is similar to Lyft’s, offering free rides that nonprofits can use to help the people they serve. Mary’s Place is one of the recipients.