SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The recent deaths of three homeless men in San Jose has put a spotlight on the large population of people living on the street, and a Silicon Valley non-profit is giving them a second chance, in a bike shop.

Since 2008, Good Karma Bikes has been providing the homeless and low-income working people with bicycle transportation. The shop not only helps those who are down-and-out repair their bikes, but they also take some in as interns.

“We’re a full service, secondhand bike shop. The people we employ are fully trained mechanics in recovery, many forms of recovery,” said Jim Gardner, who founded the organization.

Gardner, a former Silicon Valley engineer, said he got the idea for Good Karma while commuting on the Los Gatos Creek Trail.

“I saw the people going to work. It didn’t matter what time of day, it didn’t matter what kind of weather,” he said. “They were out there on their bikes and some of them you could hear them before you could see them.”

One of the formerly homeless, now repairing bikes, is Tim Culross, who said Good Karma helped him out of a difficult situation.

“They really do good. I don’t know how else to say it,” Culross said. “They provide a service to those that really need it and I get a real big feeling of satisfaction doing this work.”

Good Karma Bikes partners with homeless-service provider InnVision Shelter Network and Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen to reach those in the community who need their brand of transportation.

This holiday season, the bike shop is looking for donations of both cash and old bikes.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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