Car Buy Program Thriving – Seeking Qualified Applicants
The TMACOG Car Buy program was started in 2001 when people working to help parents with transportation to work decided that vouchers for buses and taxis were not nearly as helpful as a personal car. Since 2001, 573 clients have participated in Car Buy and received cars or vans thus far. In fiscal year 2010, 36 clients have received vehicles and 14 applicants are taking the classes required before receiving cars.
Ten years later, the program continues to help working parents in Lucas County. The goal of program is to accept an average of five applicants each month. These clients then agree to pay a modest monthly fee (currently $150/month), which covers a car payment, minimum insurance coverage, and to take classes in car maintenance, budgeting, and defensive driving. After 12 months of payments and classes, clients have earned the title to their car or van.
Funding for Car Buy comes from two sources. The Lucas County Department of Jobs and Family Services (LCDJFS) funds staff, classes, car repairs, and insurance. Funds through Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) which come through TARTA, purchase vehicles and cover initial repairs. Funding for fiscal year 2011 has been approved for continued support of the program.
Current challenges to the Car Buy program include identifying eligible applicants. The need for family transportation is clear but program requirements also include current employment, reasonable payment history, and income to cover the monthly fee. TMACOG staff is reaching out to social service agencies to encourage applications from qualified working people in Lucas County.