What Transportation Assistance Is and Why It’s Important

12/26/2016


Think back to your last bad day at work. Perhaps you slept through your alarm. You rushed to get ready, hopped into your car, and then hit bumper-to-bumper traffic. When you finally arrived at work, your boss was furious at your tardiness. Your clients left multiple voicemails and emails for you to return immediately. You were putting out figurative fires all day long, then you drove home.

Now, imagine you didn't have a car. Imagine that the only house you could afford to rent is so far from work that public transportation involves a two-hour round-trip commute. Your income, which is low, prevents you from being able to purchase your own automobile. Lastly, imagine that you have children who you want to be able to drop off and pick up from school.

With these transportation barriers, you may find it difficult to get yourself to work on time, handle your daily tasks, and still accomplish everything by the end of the day. Your employment opportunities may even be limited to the neighborhood where you live. How can you break out of this cycle? Below, we discuss how transportation assistance programs provide a solution.

How Transportation Assistance Programs Work and Who They Benefit

This alternative, bad day scenario is a common one for many people in the US. Transportation to and from work fundamentally helps them show up on time, which can allow them to retain consistent employment and pay their bills. Without reliable transportation, low-income people risk losing their jobs and limiting their earning potential. It's a major obstacle to financial stability.  

Transportation assistance programs offer a great solution. These nonprofit, government-funded, or charitable organizations offer low-cost or free vehicles to people experiencing financial hardship. In some cases, they also provide free repairs for a specific period of time.

To benefit from transportation assistance programs, applicants have to meet certain income standards. They also need to find a nonprofit organization, government agency, or charity whose mission is to help them.

For example, some transportation assistance programs focus on giving restored cars exclusively to military veterans. Other programs offer transportation assistance to victims of natural disasters or domestic violence. Some programs only help the elderly, the medically needy, or the homeless.

However, the vast majority of transportation assistance programs are geared toward helping the working poor. With a free or affordable vehicle, low-income workers not only get transportation to and from work but they also have the ability to travel farther from home, opening up their overall employment opportunities. Over time, these efforts can break the cycle of poverty in rural and inner-city areas where public transportation is limited or nonexistent.

How You Can Join Transportation Assistance Efforts

Transportation assistance programs rely on car donations. When you donate your car, these organizations fix them up and then give them to qualified individuals two to three times a month.

If you're interested in combating poverty in your area, donate an older vehicle to a local transportation assistance program. In addition to giving a low-income family much-needed transportation, you will also receive a sizeable tax deduction for this donation.

The Newgate School runs Wheels for Women, a transportation assistance program for single mothers in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties.

We select low-maintenance models from the vehicle donations we receive; use them to train low-income young adults in auto mechanics; and provide them to single, working mothers as a means of reliable transportation. Our program has helped countless moms get to work, keep their jobs, and bring their kids to school. If you're interested in donating your car to us, contact us today at contact@newgateschool.org.