The Truth Fairy says… “Driving Costs!”

Transportation Costs Drive Children Deeper into Poverty.

But with your help, OpenDoors can reverse that trend.

The longer a child lives in poverty, the greater the chances are that they will never escape it. In fact, for those who spend even half of their critical childhood years in poverty, there is an 84 percent chance that they’ll be poor for life. That contributes to the kind of multigenerational poverty that holds back generation after generation.

Even in prosperous Asheville, persistent poverty is a chronic problem for our most precious community asset…our children.

There are many contributing factors. One of the most surprising – and damaging – is a lack of access to adequate transportation. For most Ashevillians, transportation is a given. It’s even a source of complaints. Nobody likes being stuck in traffic during morning commutes to work and school. When gas prices rise, it impacts household budgets. When we head downtown to meet up with friends, a common refrain is “It’s impossible to find a place to park!”

For low income families, the challenge is more than an annoyance. It is life-altering. Research at the Urban Institute revealed that families who receive transportation support increase their employment opportunities as well as their options for housing. In other words, access to transportation that many Ashevillians take for granted can be the difference between unemployment and homelessness, and a life of success and security.

The City of Asheville recently adjusted the hours and pricing for city-owned garages to help support ART – Asheville Regional Transit. The increased revenue is expected to extend public transit options for those who ride the bus. That is great, but while the Urban Institute found that public transportation is positively associated with maintaining employment, their study also found something disturbing. Even access to public transportation does little to expand job opportunities. The truth is that without a car, people out of work…or those looking for new jobs…face significantly greater obstacles.

That’s why OpenDoors is actively growing its transportation program. With the help of tireless volunteers, OpenDoors students are provided rides to best-fit schools as well as vital after-school program and healthy, education-stimulating summer activities. Our transportation initiative has a simple, but very effective premise. Provide parents and driving-age students with vehicles in order to increase their access to employment, academic, and opportunity-enhancing enrichment activities. Let us make it easier for them to access fundamentals like food and healthcare.  How can you help?

Volunteer your time: Give a student a weekly or more frequent ride to school or work!  You get to know teens better in the car when they do not have to make eye contact and they feel free to talk in a private space.

Donate a Reliable Car – Students and parents can usually afford to upkeep a car, but cannot save the money needed to purchase a reliable option.  We take donated cars that are then checked out by our generous community partners at Harmony Motors and Hunter Volvo and Subaru, so that students and parents can be economically upwardly mobile.

Give Much Needed Funds: Support the registration, discounted repair, and limited maintenance of a donated vehicle so that our kids can break the cycle of poverty!