Duluth program helps low-income individuals purchase reliable vehiclesA single parent designs a route for the day’s car travel: They have to make sure their children are all dropped off at day care, get to their doctor’s appointment early, and get to work on the opposite end of town on time.
By: Sarah Alabsi, Duluth Budgeteer News
A single parent designs a route for the day’s car travel: They have to make sure their children are all dropped off at day care, get to their doctor’s appointment early, and get to work on the opposite end of town on time.
For a single parent relying on the bus, these decisions can be made more difficult with with the possible delays and rescheduling that come with public transportation.
Today, many low-income individuals in the Northland struggle with depending on public transportation, according to Community Action Duluth. To help ameliorate the dependence on public transportation, Community Action started JumpStart, a financial advocacy program which helps low-income people purchase affordable, reliable vehicles.
“Most of our participants are single mothers or fathers who are just trying to manage,” said Community Action transportation advocate Heidi St. John. “Some find it difficult to find a bus route that will take them to their work, others find it difficult to find a route that will take them to their work on time.”
The five-year program helps by obtaining low-interest loans, supporting downpayments, and educating about credit-building and other financial key points. JumpStart promotes a sense of independence and ownership with its participants.
“We don’t just want people to survive, we want them to thrive,” said St. John. “And JumpStart is a way we can help do that.”
Some participants work weekly with employment coaching and budgeting help. Some just learn how to purchase a car, said St. John. The intensity of the program relies on the individual’s needs and requests.
“This program has provided me with a way to go to school and get a better job. It’s helped me overcome my isolation and basically improved the quality of my life,” said Earth Seifert.
The vehicles that participants can buy are all purchased through a non-profit dealership called Ideal Auto, a partner of Community Action Duluth. The dealership is run by West CAP, a community action program based in Glenwood, Wis.
There is a variety of makes and models for the individuals to choose from, along with a range of prices to reach their needs.
Vehicles provide the participants with the ability to save money to support themselves and/or their families. By making reasonably priced cars available, Community Action Duluth is also arranging the platform on which leading a more independent, successful life is made accessible.
“I am very grateful to the JumpStart program for helping me to get a car,” said Paige Anderson, a participant of the program. “I am now able to get to all of my appointments, meetings, school functions and work.”
Since its start, the JumpStart program has worked with over 80 families to help them get started on a more independent life.
There are requirements for the program, including having a driver’s license, ability to make a downpayment and monthly vehicle payments, a steady source of income, and a completed application.
For more information on the program, or if you would like to apply, contact Community Action Duluth at (218)726-1665 or visit CAD at 2424 W. Fifth Street, Suite 102.