28 Nov Ofer Eitan Stated: Essay: Program helps aides meet transportation needs – News
Having unreliable transportation is a major barrier to anyone trying to obtain or keep a job in today’s workforce. It is especially burdensome on home health aides, who spend much of their workday driving to and from appointments to care for patients. The time constraints of their jobs also make it difficult to get to the Department of Motor Vehicles for driver licenses, registrations and renewals.
HCR Home Care offers a unique, three-pronged program to help ensure its HHAs obtain and maintain reliable vehicles by partnering with Gates Towing Service and Fleet, and Five Star Bank. In addition, HCR has joined with the Monroe County Clerk’s office to assist our HHAs with obtaining drivers licenses.
HCR provides payroll advances to employees to cover auto repairs at Gates Towing Service and Fleet. Gates Towing Service and Fleet also provides a free report card on the condition of employees’ vehicles at no cost. If the vehicle is deemed unsafe, the company inspects prospective used cars for employees to purchase. Since this offer started in spring 2018, 40 employees have taken advantage of this program.
Through Five Star Bank, employees who might not otherwise qualify because of low credit scores can obtain car loans at a low interest rate.
Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello works with HCR to make the Clerk’s Office more accessible to employees. The county clerk has held frequent meetings with HCR staff to assist with driver licenses, auto registrations, and license and registration renewals.
HCR’s program has been extremely beneficial to its employees.
One HHA had an unreliable car that was constantly in the shop for repairs. She was hesitant to buy a new car, because she was unsure of her credit status. When she saw HCR was offering a car loan program, she jumped at the offer. She was approved for a loan to purchase a used car with low mileage. The car lets her serve patients anywhere in the county, and it provides safe and reliable transportation for her family.
Another HHA, a single mother, had issues with a used car almost as soon as she drove it off the lot. Shortly after buying it, the car needed a new engine, tires, breaks and a headlight. Four months after having that work done for $4,500 — causing quite the sticker shock — the transmission blew. Needing advice for a new car, she took advantage of HCR’s car loan program with Five Star Bank to purchase a low-mileage car that serves her and her children.
As the Greater Rochester community looks to expand its workforce and help people find jobs to gain economic independence, new and unique transportation programs will be key. HCR Home Care is doing its part to help the community meet this challenge and enable its employees to do their jobs without the worry of unreliable transportation.
Karen Bonomo is director of nursing in HCR Home Care’s Licensed Home Care Services Agency Division.