One in four Americans lack access to safe, reliable, and affordable transportation options, which limits their ability to access essential services and economic opportunities. According to a recent study conducted by Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, 24% of the residents of Detroit communities in persistent poverty face challenges accessing grocery stores, and 1 in 5 patients among them is missing or delaying their healthcare appointments due to lack of transportation. Feonix’s collaboration with Ford Fund will help break down these systemic mobility barriers, aiming to eliminate the disparity in socioeconomic opportunities by improving underserved communities’ access to them.
Valerie Lefler, founder and executive director of Feonix, said, “Feonix is honored to have the support of Ford Fund and the opportunity to work alongside community partners in expanding access to healthcare, healthy affordable food options, and employment.”
In partnership with Ford Fund, Feonix – Mobility Rising in Detroit will offer two programs: Grocery Express and Access to Care. The Grocery Express shuttle service will provide older adults and families from low-income households with transportation to and from a variety of supermarkets and local stores in the region. The Access to Care program will provide mothers and infants with no-cost transportation to prenatal healthcare and wrap-around supportive resources. In Stanton, Feonix will be working alongside community leaders to understand the current residents’ mobility needs and to establish an action plan for the deployment of a local transportation assistance hub.
Alex Buznego, senior manager of mobility programs at the Ford Fund, explains, “Access to safe and reliable transportation is key for people to move out of poverty. Our investments in mobility solutions are focused on grassroots collaborations designed to bridge the gaps in access for underserved and under-resourced communities. We know that connecting people to transportation can unlock incredible opportunities for them—from healthcare and fresh food to employment and education.”
In addition to supporting Feonix – Mobility Rising, Ford Fund is also partnering with over a dozen nonprofit organizations to provide transportation-limited communities with access to resources and services, including healthcare and fresh food.