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Low-Income Residents Could Get Free E-Bikes

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By Lookout Staff

September 15, 2023 -- Santa Monica residents enrolled in low-income assistance programs could soon be eligible for up to $2,000 from the City to pay for a new e-bike, City officials announced Thursday.

The City expects to provide approximately 75 vouchers to income-qualifying households with $157,000 in funding from a U.S. Department of Energy block grant program, officials said.

If the grant application is successful, the City could receive the funding early next year and distribute the vouchers via an estimated three lotteries that would take place in the spring.

“I’m excited for the e-bike voucher program to take another step forward,” said City Manager David White. “The benefits of this program are numerous."

Benefits include "helping the City move toward its emission reduction goals, promoting active transportation, creating partnerships with local businesses, and making access to sustainable transportation more equitable,” White said.

To qualify for the anticipated program, applicants would have to meet the following criteria proposed by City staff:

  • Be enrolled in one or more low-income assistance programs, such as Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA), California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE), or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or
  • Meet the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of low-income at 80 percent of Area Median Income.

Each voucher would provide up to $2,000 to "cover the cost of the bike and eligible accessories, such as a helmet, lights, and/or lock."

Pasadena, San Diego and Denver have similar e-bike voucher programs, and a state program is anticipated in Colorado.

"The City will continue to update the community on the e-bike voucher program and will conduct city-wide outreach on when and how applications will be accepted," officials said.

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