Improving Self-Sufficiency through Transportation

Thursday, April 03, 2014

The Connector

Contributor: Rhonda Hannemann, Community Development Program Officer at United Way Fox Cities

United Way Fox Cities collaborates with other organizations to address critical health and human service needs in our community. One of our initiatives, developed with Valley Transit, is The Connector. Since 2007, The Connector has provided rides to low-income and disadvantaged individuals and families residing in Outagamie County, northern Calumet County, and northern Winnebago County who rely on public transportation, but have had difficulty accessing community resources within Valley Transit's fixed route bus system.

Outreach efforts to local housing providers indicate that The Connector is a vital service to their clientele and, indirectly, to their agency:

Chris Lashock, Client Services Coordinator at the Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley, provided the following statement on the importance of transportation. "It is important that people have the ability to access reliable and affordable public transportation to provide them with greater possibilities. The Connector has done just that for the residents of the Emergency Shelter. On an annual basis, nearly 150-200 residents residing at the Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley rely on The Connector to get to and from their jobs. All of those clients are working in areas outside the normal bus routes, or are working different shifts, which prevents them from accessing the bus. The Connector helps to provide residents with an opportunity not only to get to and from work, but also secure employment opportunities that will ultimately help to end their homeless situation."

United Way Fox Cities and Valley Transit are working to ensure that The Connector continues to operate and provide rides to individuals with transportation barriers who want to improve their employment situation, transition from being homeless or at risk of being homeless and become more economically self-sufficient and financially stable. Learn more about The Connector.