The Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Partnership is hopeful it can find alternate funding to restart its CAP Car program that provided matching funds to help clients buy a used car for educational or work purposes.
Likewise, the Ohio Department of Development’s Office of Community Services and Finance Fund is out of funding this round but also is looking at ways to secure future funding for the Cars for Jobs and Diplomas program, which was introduced in 2009, according to a finance-fund spokeswoman.
Community-action agencies across Ohio, including MYCAP, no longer offer the ByCar/CAP Car program because funding was relocated to other economic- development programs by Finance Fund, the funding source, said R. Renee Walton, MYCAP executive director.
Cars for Jobs and Diplomas was one of the best programs MYCAP ever had, Walton said. It will be halted temporarily by spring.
In the meantime, MYCAP is looking for other funding sources, she said.
The program gave eligible individuals a chance to save money in a local financial institution. When they saved enough, the Finance Fund matched their savings at a 2-1 ratio. Inadequate transportation is a major obstacle to finding and keeping a good job, MYCAP officials said.
MYCAP received hundreds of calls about this program, said Sheila Triplett, operations director.
“Even in the short time we had this program, we were able to help eight individuals purchase a used vehicle for employment or education purposes. By doing this, we helped them to move closer toward becoming self-sufficient,” she said.
With a $32,000 grant, MYCAP helped eight people up to a maximum of about $2,666 each, including Kimberly Allen of Youngs-town, buy used cars.
Allen, in a 2012 letter to MYCAP, said counseling she received helped her budget her paycheck. She said she opened a savings account and had saved some of her $1,333 share of the cost of the car when her boss at her cleaning job gave her the rest of the money needed for the car.
She said she was then able to travel to job sites and also to obtain her GED (General Educational Development) certificate. “I am driving my own car. I’m really happy,” Allen wrote.