Vehicles For Working Poor

The backdrop for speakers at the United Way Windsor-Essex 2014 campaign launch event held at Cooper's Hawk Vineyards in Harrow on October 7, 2014. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

The United Way of Windsor-Essex County has a new program to help low-income residents keep their jobs. It’s called Rebuilding Wheels Rebuilding Lives.

Transportation is a key challenge for some residents in both finding and keeping employment. The agency hopes to alleviate that challenge for some families by refurbishing donated vehicles, and CEO Lorraine Goddard believes demand for the program will grow.

The agency has partnered with Rafih Auto Group, the automotive program at E.J. Lajeunesse Secondary School and area auto part suppliers. So far, one vehicle has been donated, and Goddard hopes to add another three over the next year.

Anyone who wants to apply for a donated vehicle can contact Family Services Windsor-Essex. Goddard says they will have to meet certain criteria. “The individual or family must be experiencing low income, but they also need to be able to afford to maintain that vehicle once it’s donated.”

Anyone who wants to donate a vehicle can call the United Way of Windsor-Essex County but donated vehicles also have to pass inspection. “We’re somewhat selective in the cars that we will take,” says Goddard. “We want to ensure that if a car is requiring too much repair than it’s not very cost effective for us to invest much dollars into it.”