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Helping the Homeless, One Token at a Time

March 8th, 2010
Nicky Viola

written by Nicky Viola, Senior Project Manager

A man living in an emergency shelter who finally secured a part-time job, but lacks the transportation to actually get to work.

A woman and her two young children nearing their time limit at a transitional housing program who need to travel around the County searching for housing, but don’t have a car.

A homeless youth on his way to earning a GED, if only he had a reliable way to make it to class regularly.

What do these homeless individuals have in common?

They are all eligible to receive bus tokens through the SHORE program.  SHORE (Support for Homeless Re-Entry) is a transportation assistance program that Shelter Partnership administers on behalf of Metro.  Metro provides 318,000 tokens valued at $397,500 annually to this program and contracts with Shelter Partnership to manage it.  We in turn contract with 19 nonprofit organizations in central Los Angeles and allocate tokens to them monthly so they can distribute to the homeless individuals and families they serve.  Agencies participating in the SHORE program include homeless shelters, access centers, an employment program, a family service organization and other service providers.  All clients

receiving SHORE tokens must be homeless and participating in case management services.

In 1993 Shelter Partnership helped to develop the SHORE program with Metro’s predecessor agency. 

Since then, we have acted as the liaison between Metro and the participating

service providers.  We determine the amount of tokens each agency receives, review their monthly reports tracking token usage, and monitor their program operations.  Over 5 million tokens have been distributed to homeless individuals since the SHORE program’s inception.  While administering this program is an unusual role for us in the Technical Assistance department, it allows us to assist agencies in providing a critical resource to their clients.  Actually, in this way the program is similar to our S. Mark Taper Foundation Shelter Resource Bank.

In a sprawling region like Los Angeles, having access to transportation is essential for homeless individuals and families to regain their footing.  Since most don’t have their own cars they rely on public transportation to get to medical appointments, school, jobs, and to conduct housing searches.  Shelter Partnership is grateful that Metro allocates resources to the homeless population in Los Angeles and is honored to participate in the program’s implementation.

One Response to “Helping the Homeless, One Token at a Time”

  1. Marcelino says:

    I’m in need of help for bus tokens to get to job interviews, and to go buy food.
    please and thank you
    you can contact me at my home number. 3033667333 extention 241
    thank you,

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