A vehicle in rural Minnesota is critical as public transportation is limited. Reliable transportation is a necessity when trying to get work, school and other appointments.
Not having a vehicle can be a major issue and hamper peope's lives in many ways.
Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC) is trying to solve that problem through a vehicle leasing program.
MVAC enhanced its exiting lease program by leveraging Getting to Work funds with agency funds to purchase six new vehicles. The vehicles have been leased to individuals who would have otherwise likely struggled to obtain traditional funding.
All participants are co-enrolled in the Family Assets for Independence Program (FAIM).
The lease program requires monthly payments, and ends with a balloon payment to pay off the vehicle. A portion of each payment goes into the individual’s FAIM account to be matched at the end of a two-year period. The funds are then used to lower the principle.
Participants also receive car maintenance education, meet with staff monthly for check-ins, as well as complete the FAIM financial wellness curriculum. The monthly check-ins are also a way to ensure the vehicle remains in good working order, but more importantly, a way to connect with participants and build relationships.
It also allows MVAC and participants to work together if unexpected issues arise.
Eligibility for the program depends on meeting certain income guidelines. In addition, individuals must be identified as needing a vehicle for employment purposes.
By participating in the vehicle leasing program and FAIM, participants are able to take immediate possession of a new vehicle.
The payments made to MVAC are placed in a revolving fund that allows the Community Action Agency to purchase additional cars to sustain the program.
Contact MVAC for more information at mnvac.org.