The History of Transportation at Interfaith Sanctuary

Word on the Street Issue 18, January 2022

Accessibility and Sanctuary

By Luther Pugh

Interfaith Sanctuary wasn’t always able to help guests with their transportation needs. Four years ago, there was no partnership with Valley Ride and the minivan we had was in need of repairs.

In Spring 2016, a silver van was donated. This allowed us to transport guests in the evenings for hospital visits, prescriptions, and very essential trips. In the daytime, we used this van to transport our six-person Parks and Rec work crew.

In January 2018, we partnered with Go Ride, primarily for our Parks and Rec work program, for daily transportation from park to park. Go Ride loaned us two, 12-passenger vans.

In February 2019, we began our first daytime program: Project Well-Being. This brought on a greater need for transportation for our guests who otherwise had no means to transport themselves.

In October 2019, we started our second daytime program: Project Recovery. We now have between 30 and 40 people in our daytime programs and we’re doing our best to meet their transportation needs.

Today, we have a minivan on-site at the shelter and a minivan at our hotel shelter, which are used every day. Our newest addition is a large paralift van that allows us to transport our wheelchair-bound guests.

Creating Positive Change at Interfaith

By Jacob Hieter

Ever since Interfaith Sanctuary started its daytime work program and supportive daytime classes, there has been a lot of positive change for our shelter guests, but with that change also came a greater need for transportation. With Jodi Peterson-Stigers’ can-do attitude and the shelter staff’s willingness to help, we have acquired a few vehicles from some amazing donors. These vehicles help many of our case managers like Nicki, Luther, Kayanna, Frank, and Maranda do their jobs better. Drive with us into a new year as we honor the donors who made it all possible.

Dodge Minivan: Mark Henry & the Roman Catholic Diocese

In Boise, transportation options have never been readily available, easy to access, or reliable, especially for people experiencing homelessness. Some don’t have access to a car or bike and many have to use the public bus system. Using this bus system, many find it difficult to get to their appointments or jobs, let alone arrive on time. Prior to the donation of Interfaith Sanctuary’s Dodge minivan, the shelter had a green minivan that was in dire need of repairs.

The van was donated by Mark Henry of the Roman Catholic Diocese, who was at the time on the shelter’s board of directors. This silver minivan granted Interfaith the ability to transport people to the hospital, to retreive their prescriptions, and go to the DMV. Interfaith further expanded its use of the minivan to help with its daytime programs.

Interfaith has even used this van to deliver Word on the Street to coffee shops and the library for which I am very grateful. Thank you Mark Henry and the Roman Catholic Diocese for donating this much-needed gift. From the words of Luther, a case manager at Interfaith, “We can’t imagine how Interfaith could survive without it.”

Toyota Minivan: J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation

During this coronavirus pandemic, the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation has been very generous to Interfaith Sanctuary. As part of that generosity, they donated a used Toyota minivan to the shelter. This allowed us to keep our staff and guests as safe as possible while continuing to provide transportation for daytime programs and to medical appointments.

Thsi gift has become an invaluable tool in a time of great need. Our old minivan is now used by our offsite guests, so having a second van has been very beneficial. Interfaith’s case managers would not be able to transport guests without this gift. Thank you J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation for your guenerous gift to which we are very grateful. Your gift will benefit us for many years to come.

Additionally, we would like to thank all the smaller donors whose donations have offset the shelter’s fuel budget costs. We thank you for helping us fuel these vehicles so we can continue serving our guests better at Interfaith. Thank you so very much for your kindness and generosity.

Wheelchair Accessible Bus: Valley Regional Transit

When Interfaith Sanctuary rented this paralift van, it helped inspire and create the foundation for what this article is about. This small bus rented through Valley Regional Transit showed that Interfaith was willing to be more accessible to those staying at the shelter. This bus came fully equipped with a motorized wheelchair lift and harness. This bus was a true gift of inspiration and understanding.

When the van first pulled up to Interafith’s parking lot, we had a wheelchair-bound guest staying at the shelter. Later, we had another disabled guest whose only means of transit was a motorized schooter. This bus was instrumental in helping them both get to their appointments on time. I bet that they both felt like kings as they rode in the back of the paralift van.

Thank you Valley Regional Transit for helping us make Interfaith more accessible to everyone and providing continuing services with Interfaith’s other work vans.