Ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft will donate tens of thousands of free trips to veterans for transportation to work, job interviews and other critical needs, officials announced Tuesday.
The move is part of a broader effort by the White House's Joining Forces initiative to help end homelessness among veterans, and encourage corporate partners to fill the unmet needs of America's military families. Initiative officials made the announcement on behalf of the two companies on the eve of Veterans Day.
The ride-sharing services offer on-demand transportation services in metropolitan areas across the country, allowing people to use their phones to request and pay for cab service.
"We have heard time and time again that transportation to and from work and job interviews is often a significant hurdle for homeless veterans trying to find work," Air Force Col. Nicole Malachowski, Joining Forces executive director, wrote in a statement hailing the announcement.
"If a veteran is working a night shift or employed in a remote area of a city, public transportation is not always a viable option, and there is limited funding available for alternative transportation."
Company officials said the rides will be made available in coming months, through veterans organizations working with the Labor Department's Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program.
In addition, Uber officials announced plans to allow customers to donate $5 toward additional rides for veterans on Veterans Day, through the company's apps.
The most recent estimates put the number of homeless veterans in America at just under 50,000 people. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates that more than two-thirds of those veterans live without access to reliable transportation, limiting their ability to gain and hold jobs.