Get a Ride to Safety
Criteria for Receiving Transportation Service
- You must be in North Texas, East Texas, or the Greater Houston area
- You are leaving or have recently left an abusive intimate partner relationship or adult family violence
- You must be of legal adult age, 18 years or older
- You must have been in contact with a civic professional prior to services (see below)
- You must be able and willing to get to a safe non-residential location for pickup
- You must have a domestic violence shelter or a family home as your destination (we require to contact the receiving party about your arrival)
- If going to a shelter, it must be to a secure domestic violence shelter found in our Directory of Shelters page
Step One is to decide you are ready to go.
We serve those who have decided they cannot endure a life with an abuser any longer. Once you have made the decision towards a life of freedom, act carefully and seek help from a civic professional like a shelter hotline advocate, counselor, a family violence advocate at the police department, or a social worker. Then call us to request help. We will present you with travel options that fit your situation.
Step Two is to call Families to Freedom for a ride to that shelter. Phones are open from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday-Friday. From North Texas call 972-885-7020. From Houston call 346-386-6767.
Step Three is to get to a safe, public location where a volunteer can pick you up. This can be a retail store, a public school, a fire station, a police station, an area shelter, a hospital, or other safe place.
Area of Service
Families to Freedom provides free transportation for victims and new survivors calling from North Texas (purple box) or the Greater Houston area and surrounding Upper Coastal counties (blue area). We are unable to accommodate departures that start from outside of the service areas. Travel to a domestic violence shelter is limited to what's on our directory of shelters list, but travel to a family home can be to anywhere in the lower 48 states, so long as it's located at least 100 miles away from the Families to Freedom office.
Families to Freedom is a volunteer driven organization that relies on the availability of our volunteers for providing transportation. Requests for a ride to shelter are usually honored the same day as your call. A representative from the Families to Freedom office will be in contact with you and your receiving shelter about your driver and their timing to arrive.
We can also provide car or van rides to a family home in another state for victims traveling with children. Departures to family in another state may take several days to secure a driver. If you feel you are not safe to wait before your scheduled departure to another state we urge you to seek shelter. In addition to rides to shelter, talk to us about also receiving free transportation to a family home anywhere in the US far away from your area.
To qualify for transportation services, you will need to have been in contact with a licensed or certified civic professional. This ensures that you receive immediate assistance related to your abuse and that we are serving people who are genuinely in need of our services. In contact can be a phone call, meeting in-person, or by digital means with a licensed or certified civic professional. We will ask to contact this person for verification. Victims referred by a domestic violence program, law enforcement, or CPS social worker take priority for service.
We define a civic professional as a person who is employed by or engages in a professional capacity on behalf of a registered company, an organization, or a municipality. Additionally, this profession should deal with civic matters such as health, legal matters, community outreach, or public safety.
Examples of civic professionals include (but are not limited to): police, fireman, doctor, lawyer, counselor, therapist, school nurse, shelter personnel, campus police, emergency line dispatch, caseworker, social worker, pediatrician, and others.
Travel by Bus
We do not provide DART or METRO bus passes. Callers without children requesting travel out of state to a family home may be offered a bus ride. Tickets are typically booked one week in advance of departure. We currently do not offer bus tickets for callers outside of our service area. For callers who need to be in a safe place before travel by bus, we can provide a ride to a shelter then a ride for a bus departure as part of a survivor's overall travel plan. For a list of shelters, see our directory here. Train or airfare may be offered if the cost and timing is better than travel by bus, and it is at our discretion to offer this option.
Baggage restrictions may apply for how much luggage is allowed by bus. Any single suitcase, bag or box must weigh under 50 lbs. Families to Freedom is unable to pay for travel costs with excess baggage and unable to ship items left behind. We will make arrangements for a ride to the bus station.
Safe Locations for Pickup
A safe place for a volunteer to pickup at can be the location of a civic professional such as the police station, a fire station, hospital or medical clinic, or a shelter. In some cases where municipal resources are too far or not available, we will also accept public establishments including a retail store that is well lit and has camera surveillance and/or security personnel. This requirement is for the safety of all people involved. We will not pickup from your residence or any home known to your abuser
While Families to Freedom will advocate for you to contact and/or report the abuse to police, we do not require police involvement.
Call 833-903-7233 Mon-Fri 8:00am-5:00pm CT to discuss your travel needs.
Answers to Common Questions
- Rides are free.
- We provide rides to any domestic violence shelter named on our Directory of Shelters page.
- The ride to your domestic violence shelter must be for the purpose of entering that shelter’s program as a resident. If you are an existing resident already part of that shelter’s program and need a ride to return, you are ineligible for a ride with Families to Freedom. Work with your shelter for a solution to return.
- We must verify by a 3-way call to your receiving shelter that you are accepted to their facility and are expected to arrive.
- Our drivers are all volunteers who have passed a criminal background check, a driving check, and who we have an ongoing relationship with. Timing for pickup depends on volunteer availability. It may be an hour or longer before someone becomes available and can get to you to shelter. Going to a family home may take several days or longer to secure a driver.
- Pack light- the vehicle available to assist you may not be large. Work with your shelter on how many bags they will allow.
- We will provide a car seat or booster seat to be used for a ride to shelter with children, but you cannot keep the seat. Those going to a family home far away may keep the car seat or booster at the end of travel.
- For home arrivals, we must have proof of residence of the destination before travel begins.
- We do not offer rides across the city to any appointments for legal, medical or other reasons. Work with your receiving shelter for solutions to get around town.
- Your driver will provide a direct ride to your receiving shelter without stops for a meal or errands. Don’t worry- shelters have amazing kitchens and food available to feed you and your children after you arrive.