MDOT is working with community partners to eliminate homelessness and help alleviate the serious driver shortage that is facing transit agencies within the state.
Through a program called D.R.I.V.E., MDOT and its partners are providing housing assistance, job training, and employment, for the homeless. Participants in the program are completing Certified Drivers License training, and obtaining employment through MDOT’s Public Transit Division.
D.R.I.V.E., which is short for DEVELOPING RESPONSIBLE INDIVIDUALS WITH VALUABLE EDUCATION, is funded through a multi-million dollar C.A.R.E.S. funds grant through the Mississippi Home Corporation.
D.R.I.V.E. partners include:
Mississippi Home Corp.
Grace House Ministries
Driver Improvement agency
City of Jackson Homeless Program
Montresa Harney was homeless with her seven children, but was able to turn her life around, through a program that assisted her with job training, employment and housing assistance.
Montresa recently obtained her Class C drivers license through the program. MDOT also connected her with a job in public transit.
“I can drive anything under 26,000 pounds so like a school bus, JATRAN bus, light transit driving elderly people to their appointments…It was very rewarding especially the patients I met. I love talking to them, they love talking to me it was very rewarding,” she says.
Tamara Stewart notes, “These jobs have benefits a lot of these individuals come from homelessness with no employment or from low income jobs with no benefits, to have a stable job with benefits, it’s life changing for them.”
Montresa Harney now has a new lease and outlook on life. The only way she’s looking back is in the rear view mirror, she says. “Eventually I think I want to get my class A and get on the road, drive big trucks.”
“I would encourage people to do it, if you’re thinking about getting your license, class A,B,C go ahead and do it you know because you get to meet a lot of people who will support you.”