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Ride Share to Stability

Use Uber/Lyft gift cards to meet critical transportation needs and open conversations about long-term transportation solutions.

Photo of Colin de Paor
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Macedonia FACE proposes to use gift cards for ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft to meet the short term transportation needs of our constituents as a means of opening up conversations and ongoing relationships that help those families address transportation challenges in the long-term and build family stability. As a human services agency that receives referrals for case management from the Department of Human Services, schools, medical clinics, and a hotline, FACE frequently comes across cases in which a critical short-term transportation issue has the potential to dismantle a family's stability, particularly as many of our constituents exist on the fringes of poverty. FACE employs strength-based and trauma-informed approaches in all of its work with vulnerable families, meaning that our goal as a service provider is to meet families at the point of their need and assist them in forging a tangible, long-term solution. For many families, however, engaging in dialogue about longer term housing, employment, or educational goals is eclipsed by immediate, short-term needs. 

An all too common example, taken from a recent case file and offered with no identifying information, is that of a single mother referred to FACE because one of her children was arriving at school hungry. When a FACE Family Coordinator contacted the family, the mother explained that a mechanical issue with her car resulted in missed work and a missed paycheck. Food was scarce and  money for car repairs was not available. FACE was able to provide food in the short term through its Lunchbox program. The Family Coordinator also worked with the woman to identify some possible longer-term employment and housing solutions. However, the woman was so concerned about finding a means of transportation to get to work in order to receive her pay and avoid termination, that all other consideration quickly fell to the wayside. Her current housing is not situated near a bus line. FACE helped her identify some natural supports to find rides to work for a short period, but this was not sustainable for any longer term.  

In various iterations, this type of challenge affects a significant portion of FACE's portion of FACE's partner families. One setback - either through illness, family issues, or housing - can deeply impact a family's ability to access transportation that is essential to maintaining employment, school attendance and other important functions. FACE understands that the families with whom we work are resilient, thoughtful, and deeply concerned about the welfare and success for their children. The ability to offer a short-term solution for transportation in the form of ride sharing gift cards will allow FACE to begin to address the longer-term solutions most families are willing to work towards. The organization, which has served families for nearly 25 years, has the cultural competency and professional skills to help families succeed, provided it can meet basic needs to achieve some modicum of stability at the outset. 

FACE will follow established protocols for establishing a rapport with families and assessing their needs. The Family Coordinator will then make ride sharing gift cards available in $50 increments with the stipulation that the family work with FACE towards defining and pursuing SMART goals. Within a period of 30-60 days, FACE will have connected families to natural supports (family members, church groups, etc.) and established service agencies to identify means for addressing the immediate issue in a sustainable manner. Families cannot focus on transformative activities until basic needs are met.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Macedonia FACE, a frontline human services organization in Pittsburgh's Hill District, serves several constituencies, including: Families of Hill District students Families who have been diverted from involvement with the Department of Human Services' Office of Children Youth and Families (CYF) (countywide) People living with HIV (countywide) Families - particularly single mothers - who access FACE's Lifeline because of short-term hardships.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

The Vision of Macedonia FACE ( is that All Children are Living in Healthy Families; our mission is to Encourage the Development of Healthy Families. We accomplish this mission through strength-based service delivery approaches. We are committed to living out our mission by addressing disparities that impact the African American community and other underserved populations. Last year, Macedonia FACE served nearly 2,500 people, including over 1,500 children through our services.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Funding Request

  • $25,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

FACE will evaluate new cases as they are referred to the organization through initial interviews. Based on a family’s eligibility, FACE Family Coordinators will request a $50 gift card for ride share services Uber or Lyft. Internal requests of this nature are closely monitored by the organization’s CFO, and require two signatures and full documentation. Renewal gift cards will be made available contingent upon families attending regular meetings with Family Coordinators during which they will identify and access natural supports, receive referrals and assistance from FACE to set and achieve SMART goals. By the end of 60 days, families will have identified more sustainable means of transportation, including a personal vehicle or access and use of a bus line with the Port Authority’s Connect Card. During the process, FACE staff will assist the family as they navigate any employment or housing goals that may factor into the long-term transportation solution.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

FACE will conduct follow-up visits or communications at the 3-month, 6-month, and 9-month marks after closing a case.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of KatieWalsh 100

Many thanks for posting this idea Colin. Is the prize money you are asking for for the gift cards or for the programme that goes with them, or both?
If you have an image to go with the idea you can still make edits til 4pm EST. Katie - Facilitator