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Nonprofit Provides Services That Support Independent Living

People living with disabilities face challenges that others never have to experience. For example, independent living—and everything required to do it— introduces daily challenges. For instance, most of us take travel to and from work for granted, but this is a significant issue for some living with disabilities. Direct Care Innovations loves recognizing organizations seeking to address these challenges. The Minnesota-based nonprofit Rise provides such an example.

Nonprofit Provides Services That Support Independent Living

Transportation Obstacles to Independent Living

Those living independently with disabilities strive to participate in everyday activities, such as work, shopping, and education. For those without a driver’s license, transportation remains an obstacle. Consistent, reliable transportation presents an even more significant challenge, especially for those living in less populated areas. Forest Lake, Minnesota, with about 20,000 residents, provides a prime example.

Reagan Anderson, who has a traumatic brain injury and cannot drive, relies on transportation services to get to and from work. Anderson works as a dishwasher at a restaurant in Forest Lake. However, he struggles with consistent transportation despite living only five miles from his job. That’s where Rise comes into the picture. 

Rise Partners with Lyft, but Challenges Remain

Rise is a nonprofit that supports individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment. The organization pays for Lyft rides for their clients, then seeks reimbursement through their clients’ Medicaid waivers. A recent Disability Scoop article reported that Rise chose Lyft as their partner due to their emphasis on customer service, robust driver background checks, and willingness to engage with the nonprofit sector. 

While the Rise-Lyft partnership is innovative and ambitious, it remains difficult finding Lyft drivers willing to make the drive to the northern suburb. When they do, drivers from far away sometimes answer the call, which can mean expensive fares for clients’ short trips. In fact, program managers sometimes attempt to hire drivers a month before a transportation event or schedule them to arrive an hour early. Even so, last minutes cancellations occur. 

Clients who rely on the rideshare transportation service express confusion and disappointment at the lack of drivers. 

Lyft Drivers Earn Money and Support Those with Disabilities

To bridge the gap between supply and demand, Rise hopes to appeal to Lyft drivers based outside suburbs like Forest Lake. Hopefully, drivers will increase their awareness of the program and choose to engage. When drivers engage, Rise works directly with them to work out scheduling and match drivers with their clients. Drivers may connect with a particular client and choose to drive for them regularly. On the other hand, drivers can choose to pair with multiple Rise clients in addition to the general public. 

Direct Care Innovations Supports Independent Living

At DCI, we promote independent living for those living with disabilities. We also support organizations across the U.S. seeking to close service gaps and improve accessibility for this population. Along with creating awareness for these causes, we make providers’ and managed care organizations’ lives easier with business management software. EVV, authorization management, and additional features help groups achieve compliance and streamline operations. Call 480-295-3307 to learn more.  


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