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Automobiles from Working Cars for Working Families.

A leading non-profit to contact for information on free or low cost automobiles is the Working Cars for Working Families organization. They provide several resources for qualified, low income and working poor families. There are many local charities and agencies that partner with the national group so in effect the Working Cars for Working Families program is run locally. A number of conditions will need to be met by applicants and any assistance provided is of course limited.

The non-profit is trying to ensure that responsible families are able to obtain a car. Among other things, the staff work to ensure that applicants receive a fair deal when financing and/or buying a car. This transportation will help families across the nation become economically successful and therefore self-sufficient. Working Cars for Working Families promotes solutions that can help regional non-profit ownership programs provide transportation to working families in their town or county.

In general, the non-profit administers car ownership programs in partnership with the local charities. These are programs that provide opportunities for so called working poor families. These tend to be low wage workers and others who are qualified and meet program requirements. The intent is to help people who are working and can hold employment but their income is not high enough for them to afford a typical, monthly car payment.

The assistance provided is also targeted so that individuals can gain new skills or a higher earning job. Working Cars for Working Families can assist clients with finding a used, or in some cases a brand new vehicle.

How does Working Cars for Working Families assist?

There are a few different parts to this service. Each local charity may offer their own variation. There are really three different components or versions to this program as follows.

  • Clients may be able to obtain low interest loans. The financing may also come with discounted rates or special terms. Generally these are available to help individuals with poor credit scores or other financial challenges purchase a vehicle.




  • A second component are those programs that acquire gently used vehicles. These can be donated to the non-profit by dealers or individuals. The non-profit Working Cars will then distribute these automobiles to qualified low income families.
  • Lastly, in some cases the agency may help individuals save for a vehicle through matched savings programs.

As most people know, a reliable and safe car is critical to the long success of most working individuals and families. Without transportation someone who is currently employed may not be able to access child care, job training, medical appointments, or other critical needs. So by families being able to acquire either a new or low cost automobile, this will help ensure these tasks can be addressed.

The eligibility requirements will vary by program, location and charity. Over 100 agencies and charities participate, and they are located across the country. Each car ownership program may have differing eligibility requirements and the local non-profit will consider many factors. Applicants will need to contact the assistance programs in your area for more details.

While conditions needs to be met, the goal of each and every non-profit is to promote the economic well being and job security to the less fortunate. This is accomplished by them distributing cars directly to families, facilitating matched savings for car down purchases and payments, and making low-interest loans for car purchases.

This affordable access to a car not only benefit’s the client, but it is an important component of an effective transportation strategy to help build strong economies and healthy communities. For example, many  state welfare administrators, employers, and also job seekers indicate that transportation barriers and lack of an auto are a obstacle to finding a job and success on it.





To help put this into context, about 60% of residents in metropolitan areas live in the suburbs. In addition, about 65% of those are located in the suburbs of major cities. So almost 90% of people drive to their jobs. However, for those low-income rural or residents who live in the center of a city, and maybe who don’t own a car, they become isolated from those suburban job opportunities.

People from the cities find themselves living further away from those employment and economic opportunities. So having a car is critical for them, as relying on mass transit is usually not the best option due to schedule, lack of direct routes, and time of travel, among other factors.

To learn more on the programs in your area, contact


By Jon McNamara

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