General Questions About TRIP
How does the TRIP Program in Riverside operate?
Individuals are mostly referred by social workers and other professional evaluators from over 130 non-profit and governmental partners, such as the Department of Public Social Services, Adult Protective Services, In-Home Support Services, and many services providers including transit agencies and managed care. All referrals are by phone to the Information and Referral service of the Area Office on Aging.
A pre-screening process may provide callers with referral to appropriate public or private transportation alternatives. If thought instead to be in need of the special escorted volunteer services they are referred to TRIP. Once the application and medical verification process is complete, the application is submitted to a volunteer Eligibility Determination Committee comprised of members of our board of directors, representatives of funding agencies, and members of the senior and disabled community. The Eligibility Determination Committee examines each request on a case-by-case basis to evaluate the need for TRIP transportation assistance. The basis of every approval for authorizing TRIP service is the determination that needed transportation is not likely to occur without TRIP assistance. The goal of TRIP is to promote independence, not social dependency.
When approved for service, applicants receive a welcome package, recruit volunteer drivers, if they haven't already do so, travel as needed under the allowances of purposes and mileage determined to be appropriate for their situations, submit mileage reimbursement requests, and receive mileage reimbursement payments which they distribute to their volunteer drivers.
Can an individual's immediate family receive mileage reimbursements?
The policy of the TRIP Program in Riverside is that families who were financially able to take care of a loved one should do so without receiving mileage reimbursements for the transportation they provide. In some cases, the Eligibility Determination Committee may make exceptions to the "non-family only" rule. However, this is done only on a case-by-case basis if a determination is reached that the needed transportation is not likely to occur without TRIP assistance. The basis of this policy is a belief that there are familial responsibilities that TRIP should not replace and also to insure that TRIP mileage reimbursements that are paid are for the purpose of actually supporting needed transportation for the underserved and do not function as income supplementation to the recipient.
Can volunteer hours be used as a match for Federal grants?
According to the Code of Federal Regulations of the Office of Management and Budget, all contributions, including cash and third party in-kind, are acceptable as part of an applicant's cost sharing or matching when the contributions meet all of the following criteria:
1. Contributions are verifiable from the applicant's records.
2. The contributions are not included as contributions for any other federally-assisted project or program.
3. They are "necessary and reasonable" for proper and efficient accomplishment of project or program objectives.
4. They are not paid by another Federal award (some exceptions may be authorized under specific Federal statutes).
Volunteer services furnished by professional and technical personnel, consultants, and "other skilled and unskilled labor may be counted as cost sharing or matching" if the service is an integral and necessary part of an approved project or program.
How are volunteer services valued?
Rates for volunteer services must be consistent with the rate that would be paid for similar work in the applicant's organization. If required skills are not not present in an applicant's organization, rates of valuation must be consistent with those paid for similar work in the labor market. Paid fringe benefits that are reasonable, allowable, and allocable may be included in the valuation.
What type of initial outreach was done to promote the TRIP program start-up in Riverside?
The initial outreach was pretty traditional mass-media, new releases, paid ads, cooperation from local utilities in delivering notices with monthly bills, and so forth. Because TRIP seeks only to serve those who really require assistance, we shifted our outreach to more focused methods, including in-services to those who would best be in positions of making appropriate referrals - health service providers, social workers, the services specialists at the Call Center, public transportation services, and so forth. To this day we tend to focus on a referral process - it helps us to know more about each applicant at the start and it prevents application overload on staff.
The Beverly Foundation has rated TRIP as ........"the nation's best volunteer driver model"