Building Community Capacity and Transportation Access at Hope Faith Ministries

13423733_10154100109080801_7140850608271713095_nAs the summer pilot program of an adult Earn-a-Bike cohort at Hope Faith Ministries drew to an end in early August, no one anticipated what would grow from this initial group’s momentum and excitement. Over the summer, nine Hope Faith participants completed the five-week course where they learned bicycle maintenance, rules of the road, handling skills, and practiced navigating intersections. At the end of the pilot program, participants all received a bike, helmet, light set, and lock. Inspired by their experiences, they were determined to bring Earn-a-Bike to others in need of transportation access.

What started as a simple idea of continuing educational programming throughout the year to a greater constituency of Hope Faith clients, ended in the build-out of a fully functional bike shop inside Hope Faith Ministries. The shop, Bike+Works, plans to open in early 2017.

Located at 705 Virginia Avenue in KCMO, Hope Faith Ministries is a day center that provides services and resources for homeless and at-risk men, women and children in Kansas City. This population relies the most on biking and walking as their primary means of transportation, yet faces difficult challenges like limited access to affordable, working bikes and limited access to education and resources about bicycle safety and maintenance skills.

1-20161001_084639-1For the past four months, BikeWalkKC has worked closely with the staff, interns, and clients of Hope Faith Ministries to transform a locker room, utility space into a permanent bike shop. These folks worked countless hours cleaning, painting, and building out the space. Check out photos of their progress so far, below.

Bike+Works will serve clientele who attend Hope Faith Ministries and will aim to get bicycles in people’s hands who need them most. A bicycle will allow these men and women to get to interviews, jobs, school, the grocery store, etc. Not only will Bike+Works provide access to bicycles, but it will also be a hub for teaching the skills needed to maintain a bicycle, and ride safety through Kansas City. Classes will be taught primarily by Hope Faith clients, some of whom attended the BikeWalkKC Earn-a-Bike pilot program over the summer.

The mission of Hope Faith Bike+Works is to support homeless and at-risk individuals by providing access to bicycles and bicycle related education, training, and vocational opportunities. Their goals are to:

  • Provide bicycles to homeless and at-risk individuals to improve transportation options, increase access to employment opportunities, and improve individual and community health
  • Provide community work space for repair and restoration of bicycles
  • Provide education, training, and vocational opportunities
  • Create a community space that brings individuals together to break down stigmas and misconceptions of homelessness and poverty

We look forward to continuing to support the great work of Hope Faith Bike+Works!

A special thanks to the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, for continuing to support our community mobilizing efforts.

Have an extra bike lying around or a box of parts? Consider a donation to Hope Faith Bike+Works. Contact education@bikewalkkc.org or 816-205-7056 ext. 7 for more details.

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