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How to Get a Free Bus Ticket Home for Homeless People

How to Get a Free Bus Ticket Home for Homeless People

Being homeless and far from support systems can feel overwhelming. If you need to travel to find shelter, family, or a fresh start, there are organizations that can give you a free bus ticket home so that you can connect with friends or family in your hometown who can help you.

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Companies that provide travel services may be able to help you get a free bus ticket home if you need it. Each one has its own rules, though, so you’ll need to review the eligibility below.

Greyhound

If you are a homeless, runaway or exploited youth between the ages of 12 and 21, you may be able to get a free bus ticket home from Greyhound’s Home Free Program.

This program is designed to help you reconnect with your parent, guardian, or another safe living arrangement. It is coordinated through a partnership with the National Runaway Safeline. You can request your free bus ticket home by calling the hotline at 1-800-786-2929.

Homeless Services Office

If you aren’t eligible for the Greyhound program, contact your local homeless shelter, homeless coalition or homeless services office immediately. Many of these programs prefer to help you get a free bus ticket home because it’s often cheaper than offering other interventions.

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You can find your local homeless services by calling 211 and asking about homeless resource centers in your area.

Government Programs

Depending on where you live, there may be some government programs that can help you connect with a free bus ticket home as well.

Town or County Welfare

Many states require town or county governments to set aside welfare funds to help low income residents with emergency supports. These funds can help you with rent, utilities and other emergency experiences. If you experience homelessness, they may also be able to help you get a bus ticket home as well.

In order to find out if your town or county offers these funds, you’ll need to contact your local government office. Some areas call it welfare funds, others call it Indigent Services. Just ask if they have a fund that can help you with emergency expenses so you get routed to the right department.

County Veterans Services

Many counties also have veteran service funds as well. My family has used this service in Washington when we needed help with our crazy $3,364 power bill. These funds can help with all sorts of needs!

If you are a veteran, you may be able to visit your county veteran office to get help with a bus ticket home. Just make sure you bring your DD214 and other identifying documents to prove your eligibility.

Family Reunification Programs

Some areas with significant homeless populations offer something called a Family Reunification Program. The goal of this program is to help people move off the streets by reconnecting them with loved ones who can provide needed shelter and support.

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For example, San Diego has a robust Family Reunification Program that provides a free Greyhound bus ticket to anywhere in the United States as long as there’s someone who can help you when you get there. This program is part of the Downtown Partnership’s Unhoused Care program.

The easiest way to connect with a Family Reunification Program in your area is to call your local 211 office. They should be able to help you connect with any programs like that in your area.

Churches that Provide a Free Bus Ticket Home

If you can’t get help from one of those transportation companies, a local church or charity may be able to help you purchase a bus ticket home.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army may be able to help you get a free bus ticket home. This organization is well-known for providing relief to those who are going through hardships, and helping someone get home to a more stable situation is often the most affordable way to prevent homelessness. Thus, this is a good fit for this organization.

In order to find the Salvation Army office nearest to you, you’ll just need to use the locator tool on their website.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul

There are many different SVdP locations across America and they all have different rules and guidelines. Although their financial assistance programs usually only contribute a modest amount, some of the SVdP chapters we’ve researched can help you get a free bus pass.

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This is usually a local service, but if you find yourself homeless and far from your support network, they may be able to help you get a free bus ticket home as well.

Traveler’s Aid International

Traveler’s Aid International is an organization that helps prevent homelessness by helping people get where they need to go. They can help the homeless and travelers in distress who are stranded. Some of their locations may offer a free one-way bus ticket home, but those services vary by location.

You can find a Travelers Aid International office at your local airport, train station, or bus depot. They have locations in dozens of major transportation hubs.

Love INC

Love INC is another well-known charity that provides assistance to people who are at risk of homelessness or experiencing other hardships. They may be able to offer you assistance with a free bus ticket if you have a safer home to go to.

However, this service will vary by location. You’ll need to contact your nearest Love INC office for details.

Relief Recap

Finding your way back home when you’re facing homelessness can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, the providers on this list can help you get a free bus ticket home so that you can reconnect with your support system. They understand the challenge you face, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them for support.