There are many public and private transportation options for workers in poverty, yet quite a few people are still left without a ride. Having a car may be the only option for staving off unemployment. This guide is for organizations interested in launching or refining a car ownership program. The guide addresses key components of program planning, design and delivery. Rather than proposing one model, the guide offers various options in each program component along with a discussion of the associated benefits and challenges.
Public agencies understand the importance of car ownership to low-income workers
Findings & Stats
Only 32% of entry-level jobs in high growth areas are accessible by public transportation.
TANF Transportation Model
Welfare recipients who own cars are more likely to be employed than those who do not.
Cars = Cash
Owning a car increases the number of hours worked and worker earnings.
Client eligibility for the car ownership program includes possession of a driver’s license and available income for car-related expenses.
Used Car Savvy
One of the most important stakeholders to recruit is a representative familiar with the used car business.
Statements & Quotations
Public transportation may get many people to work, but it will not work for everyone. Many people work shifts outside of nine-to-five business hours, take children to school or day care on their way to work, or live beyond the reach of a transit system or in a rural area without any public transit at all.
The mission of many car ownership programs is very simple: to provide cars to low-income families to facilitate their ability to get to work or training. Car ownership programs are providing short-term assistance to address an immediate, usually employment-related need, thus the cars that are provided are considered “starter” cars.
The average per unit cost to acquire, process and transfer a car to a client ranges from $3,340–$7,060. Many car ownership programs rely heavily on TANF funding or private grants to continue operations. Given the budget size, the lack of diversified funds puts car ownership programs in financially vulnerable positions especially in light of the government budget deficits and cutbacks.
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