By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Obtaining reliable transportation is difficult for low-income families and raising income through gainful employment is difficult without reliable transportation. In an effort to address this catch-22, the United Way of Madison County has funded a new program through JobSource called Moving Madison County.
“This program is in response to what we’ve seen in every single needs assessment in recent years,” said Vincent Smith, community relations manager at JobSource. “Transportation is a large barrier to employment and education.”
Still in the building stages, the program is hoping to match cars donated by community members to families in need that have been through the Central Indiana Community Action Agency family development program. This voluntary program focuses on reducing dependency and increasing self-sufficiency.
Since donated cars are expected to have issues, the Hinds Career Center is on board to offer repair work at the cost of parts. A vocational school that trains juniors and seniors from seven area high schools in automobile service and collision and repair, the Hinds Career Center is the perfect place to obtain free labor while providing an educational experience for students.“Students will use their skills and get hands-on experience,” said Tami Davis, career and education coordinator. “It is a creative low-cost solution that utilizes the resources in our county. It also fosters a sense of countywide community as they are helping others while learning new skills.”
Once repaired, these cars will be sold to program participants for around $500 to $1,000.
“We want the cars to be affordable, but we also want the family to have some buy-in,” said Smith. “The family development program has been making great steps and strides to help people become self-sufficient. We are excited about this new program and are looking forward to being able to do new things.”
Workers at JobSource and the United Way aren’t the only ones who are excited about Moving Madison County.
“The students and instructors are very excited to participate and be an intricate part of the program,” said Davis. “They are proud to get the program up and running. They get to offer a key contribution – free labor.”
To begin offering cars to low-income families, JobSource is in need of donated cars and money to purchase parts or possibly cars at auctions. Participants in the program will be required to purchase the title, have proof of car insurance and obtain a driver’s license.
“From year to year we don’t know what will happen in Congress,” said Smith. “We don’t know how long they will continue to offer assistance or how much money will be available. With the family development program we are trying to set people up so they don’t need government assistance."
Latest in a series This is the latest in a series of weekly articles, being published Mondays, about the impact of United Way programs in Madison County. How to give To contribute to the United Way's campaign: -- Visit www.unitedwaymadisonco.org -- Call 643-7493