RESTON, Va. (WDVM) — COVID-19 vaccine availability has increased over the past month, but many populations are struggling to find transportation to an appointment, including vulnerable veterans.

The Federal Transit Administration announced that it is granting $80,000 to the Dulles Area Transportation Association (DATA) to provide eligible Northern Virginia veterans a ride to and from their vaccine appointments at no cost. DATA partnered with The Northern Virginia Veterans Association (NOVA Veterans) to organize rides through a taxi service.

NOVA Veterans is a local nonprofit that works firsthand with elderly, low-income and health-challenged veterans. President and CEO of the nonprofit Angela McConnell said the grant is a great stepping stone to expand transportation services to veterans.

“It’s just not the vaccines that the veterans need. They need to get to their doctor’s appointment, they need to get to the grocery stores and the pharmacies, so what we’re hoping to prove, ongoing, is just the complete need for veterans to have safe, reliable, transportation here in the Northern Virginia area,” explained McConnell.

DATA Mobility Manager Luke Frazza said, “We worked with NOVA Veterans to ensure this project will help those veterans who are most isolated get their vaccines, so they can re-emerge from their homes and once again interact with their community.”

The local organizations plan to start transporting veterans to appointments in mid-June.