Expanding Low-Income Workers’ Job Options with Reduced Transit Fares in King County

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Natalie Holmes

This past Sunday, March 1, King County Metro Transit in western Washington State launched ORCA LIFT, a regional, income-based reduced-fare transit program. Individuals making less than twice the federal poverty level qualify to receive a reloadable ORCA card (ORCA stands for “One Regional Card for All”), which caps the cost of most trips at $1.50 per ride—$1.00 less than the standard adult off-peak rate, and $1.75 off the highest adult peak rate. Although income-based reduced-fare programs exist elsewhere in the country, ORCA LIFT has the potential to become one of the largest yet.

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The Growing Demand for Home Health Care Workers in the Suburbs Raises Housing and Transportation Challenges

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Nurse and elderly man spending time together --- Image by © Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./Blend Images/Corbis

Kathleen Costanza and Sarah Jackson

As a home health aide, Jasmine Almodovar earns $9.50 an hour. Though she spends her days providing care for senior citizens, she doesn’t have health insurance of her own—much less life insurance or a retirement plan.

“We work really long hours, really hard work,” Almodovar recently told NPR in a story about home health workers in suburban Cleveland. “A lot of us are barely home because if we don’t go to work, we don’t get time off. We don’t get paid vacations. And some of us haven’t had raises in years.”

Almodovar is part of the rapidly growing home health care workforce that’s caring for aging baby boomers who want to stay put in their suburban homes. The US Department of Labor estimates approximately 1 million more home health jobs—comprising home health aides and personal care aides—like Almodovar’s will be needed in the next decade.
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