Vehicles for Change, a Baltimore-based nonprofit, and Harford County’s Wheels for Work have joined forces to provide automobiles to participants of residential programs for people in crisis in Harford County beginning in November 2012. The organizations intend to provide twelve to fifteen vehicles to worthy families and individuals within in the next twelve months for employment purposes.
VFC accepts donated cars from the public and provides these vehicles to low-income families in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. The nonprofit is also working with the Department of Human Resources to provide vehicles to low-income residents of Harford County through the Maryland Transportation Assistance Program.
“Vehicles for Change is excited to partner with Harford County Wheels for Work,” said Steve Sullivan, assistant director of Vehicles for Change, “We look forward to assisting homeless residents of the partner agencies in Harford County in their employment efforts.”
Wheels for Work, a new program that was made possible through a grant from the Dresher Foundation, will provide cars and bus transportation to clients of Anna’s House, Harford Family House, SARC and the Homecoming Project. The grant will cover part of the cost of the vehicle and will enable the partner program clients to participate in financial literacy training and a savings plan, to prepare them for the cost of car ownership. Like all Vehicles for Change car recipients, Wheels for Work clients need to be working at least 30 hours a week or have a verifiable job offer before they are eligible to receive a vehicle.
“Lack of transportation is one of the most significant barriers to our clients obtaining employment, the first step in moving toward self-sufficiency,” said Joyce Duffy, executive director of Harford Family House, “Having a decent, working car will not only be empowering, but life-changing for the recipients from Harford Family House, Anna’s House, SARC and the Homecoming Project. We are so excited about partnering with Vehicles for Change and to work together to address this barrier among our programs clients.”
Through the VFC-Wheels for Work partnership, the public can donate vehicles on behalf of Wheels for Work and directly assist the program’s clients. For each car that is donated on behalf of Wheels to Work and in good-enough condition to be provided to a family, a vehicle will be awarded to a Wheels to Work client.
Since its formation in 1999, Vehicles for Change has impacted the lives of more than 14,000 individuals by awarding more than 4,000 cars to low-income families in Maryland, Washington and Virginia. The organization’s 2011 study found that 73 percent of Vehicles for Change car buyers were able to obtain a better paying job and/or increase their income by an average of $7,000. There are more than 81,000 low-income households without a car in the Baltimore metro area.