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Being away from home can be difficult at any time of year, especially during the holiday season. If you have family or other opportunities waiting for you at home but do not have the means to get there, the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) may be able to help.
Since the beginning of the year, almost 250 people have been helped through the department’s Transportation Assistance Program or TAP.
Launched in November 2006, TAP lends a hand to individuals and families that need financial help relocating from Humboldt County to another area where Social Services staff has verified that they have either a job waiting for them or family members or friends willing to offer support and assistance.
This is not traveler’s aid, but a one-time relocation program whose goal is to assist people in relocating to take advantage of opportunities that will lead to self-sufficiency.
To qualify, a person must be at least 18 years old or a child in the care of an eligible parent. He or she must be able to provide identification and a Social Security number and have insufficient funds.
Eligible recipients also should not have received cash assistance from any county, state or federal program during the same month in which the bus ticket is requested.
DHHS staff members will help applicants obtain any necessary identification, contact friends or family members, and make referrals to assist with medical conditions that may prevent a person from traveling with TAP assistance.
People eligible for the program may receive a nonrefundable, one-way bus ticket to their destination, or gas money if they have their own registered and insured vehicle. A meal allowance is provided for each day of travel.
From November 2006 through November 2015, TAP has received 3,227 applications. Of those, 2,251 met all eligibility requirements.
“It's important to support those struggling to transition back to their communities and support networks,” said Stephanie Weldon, DHHS Social Services director. “Providing individuals with this assistance is an important component on the road to self-sufficiency.”
To increase awareness, DHHS staffers have connected with close to 50 organizations and businesses to educate them about the TAP program. DHHS has also created partnerships with several local groups in an effort to help eligible individuals and families apply for the program.
To apply for the Transportation Assistance Program, call or stop by any of the following DHHS locations:
Social Services main office, 929 Koster St. Eureka. (707-269-4106) Hoopa Outstation, K’ima:w Medical Center, 1200 Airport Road, Hoopa (530-625-4251) Garberville Outstation, 727 Cedar St., Garberville. (707-923-2759).
Follow us on Twitter: @HumCoDHHS.