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West Ventura County Focus

Volunteer Drivers for Welfare Plan OKd


County supervisors have embraced a plan to recruit volunteers to help in welfare reform.

Supervisors John K. Flynn and Kathy Long had asked their colleagues on the board to help enlist volunteers from churches, community organizations and service clubs to drive welfare recipients to work.

"Transportation is one of the key components to the success or failure of welfare reform," Long said Tuesday during the Board of Supervisors meeting.

The board voted unanimously to support the plan.

Long and Flynn said public transit often does not run early or late enough for people who work odd hours. They said volunteers can play a crucial role in helping welfare recipients get to jobs, and may also become mentors and provide support to their passengers.

"County government just doesn't have the money to do the things that are going to be pushed down from the state to accomplish," Supervisor Frank Schillo said.

Schillo said finding volunteers is one goal.

The other is finding cars.

He said he has been in touch with community colleges and credit unions in recent months to develop a plan where people could donate old cars, have them repaired by students, and lease them to welfare recipients who find work.

"If we're going to make this work, it's going to take absolutely everyone to do it," Supervisor Judy Mikels said.

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