A van request is made by your case manager to go to social security, HRA, the DMV, and or birth certificates on worth street in the city.
The DMV office, they choose to take clients is on 125th street and Lexington Ave in Manhattan. It’s the express DMV office, the 4 train is right on the corner. They choose this location because it’s the easiest one to get back to the shelter from.
Your case manager fills out an appointment slip printed from the computer with your name on it and your destination and what’s it for. So if your going to HRA, the case manager will put it’s to reopen your case or to recertify, so Ms. Smith can know what your van request is for and how long your expected to be in whichever government building.
On the day of your van request, you have to be waiting in the lobby in the waiting area by 8am. Your waiting for ms.smith or marney to take you to your destination.
Everything is scheduled out by the days of the week, like HRA is Mondays and the DMV is Friday. Birth certificates on Wednesday and twice a week there’s social security which is Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Before marney joined Ms.smiths team, ms.smith would be the one taking the clients to their location, and be prepared with one ride metro cards so you can be pointed in the direction of the train and given directions to get back on your own.
Sometimes if there’s a move from the shelter your van request is moved to a different day. Moves to apartments are first priority. But your waiting around until 9am-9:30 am for the van to show up and for ms.smith to rehearse who’s going where. It’s a big to do, and the longest wait ever.
The longest wait I had in a government building was the express DMV to get my identification. I was there for 3 hours waiting for my number to be called. I had to find my way back with Maria we ended up waiting for each other and took the 4 train back to 176th together. It’s about a half hour commute from 125th street.
Where I don’t want to go back to the shelter by myself is HRA. But marney is able to have the van pick us back up from 300 canal street. So the burgundy van takes us and the white van brings us back. They have the vans in rotation as of recent.
The two drivers use to be livery drivers so they know the best route to getting to appointments.
It’s usually 5 passengers plus the cordinator in the passenger seat next to the driver.
And you just have to wait your turn to be seen at HRA or the DMV which are the longest wait. Most of the time at HRA I’m playing around with my phone. Before I had any phone, I just sat and waited.
HRA is a very slow process, and usually takes about 3 hours from start to finish.
The drivers are very good drivers and usually never hit traffic so we get to our location before 10:00am .
300 canal place is only a ten minute drive from the shelter. It’s in no man’s land, and there’s assurance wireless employees set up out front the welfare center, they tell you if your eligible or not by the last 4 digets of your social security number an ID and your EBT card.
Not all shelters have a van to take you to HRA or where ever you have to go. You’re given a two fare metro card and given directions on how to get there and back, depending on the location of the shelter and what type of shelter it is.
But a mica shelter has to have the van requests. By law they have to take you to government buildings. The stadium doesn’t have van request from what I hear. But the stadium is also closer to the HRA office. And the stadium isn’t a mica shelter.
I’m grateful to have the van at my disposal. I have no idea how to get to hra at 300 canal place. And the bus stops about a block away. I don’t know land marks or know what stop is which. I know how to get to one of the social security offices and we care, that about it.
The van requests are a god send, and with much patience a quick ride in the van is better than trying to navigate on public transportation. But this is my life now; Van requests, HRA, and award letters.