DHS News October 2013
Community Auto Program Gets People Moving
The Office of
Community Services assisted in securing a discretionary grant to boosted the
goals of both the Department of Human Services and its partner, North Hills
Community Outreach (NHCO), in helping people become more self-sufficient.
The $90,000 grant
expanded financial eligibility criteria for NHCO’s Community Auto program, allowing
an additional 21 people with household incomes at 125 percent of federal
poverty income levels buy cars for $750 plus tax, registration and license. The
cars, which are donated to Community Auto, allowed these new car owners to
either work additional hours and/or search for better employment opportunities and
thus increase household income.
in all became car owners in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 through the
Community Auto program, including those who were able to participate because of
the discretionary grant. NHCO is a partner with the Office of Community Service
(OCS) in the office’s self-sufficiency outreach efforts and sought to expand
Community Auto to help people overcome an obstacle to independence. John Litz, OCS
Planner, assisted NHCO with a Community Services Block Grant discretionary application
to reach its goal.
been identified as a key barrier to acquiring employment. Public transportation
is limited. It doesn’t run 24/7 or run to areas where employment opportunities
exist,” said James Faulks, Program Monitor for OCS. Besides securing or
improving employment, acquisition of cars helps Consumer Auto participants
improve their families’ lives in other ways, such as making sure children get
to school, the doctor, or even recreational activities. “Those are the social benefits that help keep
families strong,” James said.
A vehicle consultant
examines cars to recommend which can be used and which should be turned over to
an auction. Proceeds from sales are returned to the program. Community Auto is
a 10-year-old program that became part of NCHO three years ago. To improve
success rates, NCHO requires Community Auto participants to attend a class to
learn how to care for their vehicle. They also are given gas cards for six
months, child car seats if needed, a AAA+ membership, a one-year warranty and
post-sale repair and advice. Participants must pay for their own insurance.
“Not only are
participants excited about their freedom from transportation worries, they are
relieved of the worry of being a burden to others,” said Pamela Lindenberger,
Community Auto Services Coordinator.
“We have a lot of single
moms. This is really a help for them,” added Susan Rohm, Assistant Director of
NHCO. “We’re very pleased and happy to
have this partnership with the county.”
For more information on the Community Auto
program, visit www.communityauto.org. For more about OCS, please visit the DHS OCS webpage.
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