Member Profile: Travelers Aid/Union Station

Founded: 1912
2018 Passenger Assists: 224,536
2018 Social Service Assists: 1,476
2018 Bus Tickets: 312
Volunteers: 20
Staff: 1.5 social workers 
The primary role of the Travelers Aid social workers at Washington Union Station is to assist stranded individuals who are seeking transportation in order to reconnect to their homes, communities and their lives.
“Some of the current trends that we are seeing is an increase in the number of mental health clients, human trafficking clients, clients with unrealistic expectations of relocating to the Washington, DC metro area and an increase in the number of under-employed who move to the areas for employment but cannot afford the high rent in the area,” said Willie Ringold, the director of social services.
During January and February, a total of 12,811 persons received assistance. Because it’s an easily accessible location within Union Station, many calls were made by volunteers to the hypothermia vans for transportation to area shelters. The volunteers also shared food truck and meal locations to the many homeless persons seeking warmth during the cold-weather nights.
“As the summer months approach Travelers Aid often sees an increase in the number of individuals who are suffering with a mental illness and who will travel to the city to visit with the president or their congressional representative. These individuals are usually detained by the Secret Service and referred to Travelers Aid for assistance with transportation home,” Ringold explained.