The Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program has just finished a memorandum of understanding with the United Way 211 Program to provide access to a new pilot LYFT program that will provide veterans with ride share capabilities to get to and from their jobs.

“Transportation continues to be a large issue for our homeless veterans, as well as those veterans that are disabled or veterans who do not have access to public transportation that would take them to and from their jobs,” Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program Director Jim Lindenmayer said in a news release. “Cherokee County, like many other rural counties, does not have the funds or infrastructure to support a countywide mass transit system as you would find in Atlanta with MARTA or Cobb County with CCT, and this lack of local governmental program requires creative thinking and making partnerships with other organizations that fill in gaps that we find in our ability to serve our veterans in need.”

Lindenmayer added that this program is designed to provide veterans in the job market and cannot afford a car or lack public transportation up to $600 for job-related transportation.

The funded program from LYFT was initially announced in January to help veterans get into and remain in the job force. United Way 211 was one of the two organizations selected by LYFT to help roll out this program, with the original program in Georgia focused on covering veterans in need from the eight counties centered on Atlanta and ended in June 2020, Lindenmayer said.

The Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program was selected in 2020 to participate in the initial LYFT pilot program managed by United Way 211, and with the success this was met with, the program was invited to participate in this next pilot program.

There are program requirements the program must abide by, which includes:

♦ Only six slots for veterans are available in this pilot program.

♦ Veterans must be honorably discharged and provide DD214 to verify their time in service and discharge type.

♦ The program is open to male and female veterans.

♦ All veteran candidates will be screened for job status prior to being selected for the program.

♦ The program supports travel to and from work, including any pre-job interviews, as well as any job-related medical testing required by employers.

♦ Initially, each candidate will be given $300 for the program, with the ability to qualify for an additional $300 for the $600 total per-person grant.

♦ Candidates must have a smart phone and have the LYFT app loaded on their phone.

♦ Candidates must possess a credit card.

♦ Any non-job related transportation costs are to be paid for by the veteran using LYFT.

♦ Rides must be within a 25-mile radius of Canton.

♦ The program is set to end on May 31.

If you are an employer of a veteran who needs transportation, or a veteran who wants to be considered for this pilot program, contact Lindenmayer at 678-983-7590 or jlindenmayer80@gmail.com.

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