Roadblocks: Transportation and Homelessness
A dead battery. A flat tire. An unwelcome surprise during a state inspection. Whatever the cause, we have all had a moment in our lives when the wheels were supposed to spin really fast and take us somewhere, but instead we were stuck. It’s not a good feeling.
Now imagine that feeling stretching out for more than the hour or two it takes for a ride to come or the tow-truck to arrive. Imagine if you had less of a “car problem” and more of “getting around” problem. What if, all of a sudden, “But, how will I get there?” became your response to every proposed opportunity–a job interview or the first day of work; the first day of class or your final exam. Think about all of the important places you drove one time to get to where you are now; how different would your life now be if you weren’t able to get there?
This issue is on our minds a lot at Stepping Stones. Roughly two thirds of the youth we serve do not yet have a driver’s license, let alone a vehicle of their own. When there are already so many barriers for housing, it is heart-wrenching to see our youth pass up a housing opportunity in a surrounding town like Milford because the available property is too remote for a non-driving person.
When someone does not have a reliable place to stay, it is easy to see why long term goals fall by the wayside, such as applying for jobs and housing. This goes double for putting in the long hours of driving practice. Anyone who has ever said “I’ll figure it out” but had no clear-cut action plan in place can relate, but what many people have are resources–a car, a house, supportive family and friends–who act as a safety net to make sure we get to our next destination okay.
Our dream at Stepping Stones is that everyone we serve eventually achieves their goals, and one of the first steps is giving them the tools to successfully and safely get to their destinations. Our existing services already offer rides and bus passes, but since our main mission is self-sufficiency, we are hoping to enroll our youth in driving instruction. Not all of our clients have a reliable, experienced driver in their life to help them complete the practice hours that will ensure they are safe on the road, so we are hoping to obtain a vehicle that will allow our staff and volunteers to provide guidance from the passenger seat.
So if you see a car driving aimlessly around the Millyard with a young driver and a member of our staff, please be kind and know that someone is on their way to fitting in with the rest of New Hampshire’s drivers.