A Lyft employee enters the Driver Support Center.
A Lyft employee enters the Driver Support Center. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Veterans and their families are eligible for free rides to services such as food assistance, career opportunities, and housing aid in the San Antonio area, thanks to a new $75,000 Lyft initiative.

“Our mission is to improve people’s lives, and we’re proud to be partnering with key organizations in Texas to help some of those who deserve and need it the most – our military veterans,” said Aaron Fox, Texas General Manager of Lyft, in a press release. “Transportation should never be a barrier to anyone seeking the support and access available to our Texas military communities. We look forward to partnering with the local organizations who have dedicated their missions to bettering the lives of our military veterans.”

Any veterans who receive help from SAMMinistries, an interfaith ministry that provides shelter and services for the homeless in San Antonio, are automatically enrolled in Lyft’s pilot initiative, known as the Veterans Support Program. To receive support from SAMMinistries one must have been honorably discharged from the military and face economic hardship, lack housing, require rental assistance, or need help paying utility bills.

Hundreds will receive free rides during the pilot period, which began Friday and will last until Jan. 30, President and CEO Navarra Williams said.

Williams said the impact of the program would be considerable.

“Some of the veterans just have the minimum payment they would get from the military,” he said. “That somewhat covers some of the low-income housing. But the other resources they need can sometimes be difficult to acquire. Just the opportunity to get a ride to the VA or to [any other veterans’ services facility] I think is going to be extremely valuable to the veterans of San Antonio.”

In Houston, Lyft is partnering with the Houston Food Bank to connect veterans with local care and services.

San Antonio veterans can call SAMMinistries at 210-340-0302 to find out if they’re eligible.

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.