Someone recently emailed me, asking where a homeless person in Houston could get a bus ticket home.
This was my response:
Sorry, I could not find any info on that. Not every city offers the service – not on an official level anyway. Some homeless service providers will help with greyhound tickets to people whom they know to be homeless and are wanting to get home. Usually, the person has to prove that they have a home to go to in another city. You just have to ask around.
Assistance with greyhound bus tickets can be expensive, so homeless service providers might be selective of whom they help, they won’t advertise such assistance. If you ask the guy sitting at the “front counter” of a shelter about it, he may not know anything, and will just tell you “no.” Instead ask for an appointment to speak directly, and in private, with whomever is actually running the organization. Talk to someone higher up, someone in administration.
Also, see if there is a “Travelers Aid” in your area.
Be careful of the help you go looking for. In Nashville there is a program with the police department, paid for by the business interests of downtown Nashville. The thing is, before they give you a greyhound bus ticket home, they will run a warrant check on you. If you are wanted anywhere, even for unpaid parking tickets, you just might end up going to jail instead of going home.