In positive veterans news, there is a new initiative to help homeless veterans and other veterans lacking reliable transportation. Military news outlets reported last week that ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft announced a new initiative to offer free rides to veterans who needed transportation to work, job interviews and other employment events.
"It is remarkable to see competitors come together to support our veterans," said Colonel Nicole Malachowski, Executive Director of the White House's Joining Forces Initiative, formed to support veterans and military families.
It has been estimated that two-thirds of of homeless military veterans don't have access to transportation. That limitation is a big obstacle when it comes to both finding and keeping a job.
As we reported in another blog post on the issue of homelessness among our veterans, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, there are over 800,000 men and women who served in the uniform of the United States who slept on the streets without a home on at least one night in 2014.
When discussing the free rides for veterans initiative, Uber's Senior Vice President of Business Emil Michael said, "Thank you to the brave men and women who have served our country and to the military families who have supported their service. It takes tremendous sacrifice and commitment to be a service member."
Uber has pledged to donate 10,000 rides (the equivalent of $125,000 in Uber profits) across five veteran organizations affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program.
The 10,000 rides number doesn’t quite cover the tens of thousands of those in need or the several rides these veterans will presumably take. The donated profit is also pocket change, compared to the more than $8 billion Uber took in VC dollars invested so far.
It was not clear how many rides Lyft is offering or if its portion will cover the rest, but a White House blog mentions both Uber and Lyft “are donating tens of thousands of free rides” and a Lyft spokesperson mentioned Lyft is “donating thousands of rides,” when we reached out for a more exact number.
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