The cost of transportation is one of many challenges people are facing when trying to find steady employment. Wheels for Work is a Catholic Charities of Livingston County auto loan program that offers participants a way of gaining financial independence. This is one of several such programs under Catholic Charities.
Program applicants are given the opportunity to obtain a used vehicle and a zero-percent-interest loan through Wheels for Work. Qualifications for the program include steady employment for the past two years and one consecutive year with the same employer, or a job offer with an established work history. There usually is a two- to three-month waiting period for each applicant, based directly on frequency of vehicle donations.
A new addition to the Wheels for Work program is a vehicle-maintenance workshop for auto loan customers. The first such workshop was held this past spring at Monro Muffler and Brake in Geneseo. "It was very informative," said Diane Barry, an auto loan customer and workshop attendee.
Dick Wahl, field training coordinator for Monro, talked about basic car maintenance as well as answered specific questions from attendees. Participation in this workshop now will be required of anyone receiving a loan or vehicle from Wheels for Work.
"I have never met someone with so much knowledge, and he even gave me a sense of security and trust where I would know that if I brought my vehicle to them for service that I wouldn’t have to question if they were ripping me off," Barry said.
The Wheels for Work program currently is in need of vehicle donations. Vehicles in any condition are acceptable; however, those that help the program most fit the following criteria:
- Are less than 11 years old
- Have under 150,000 miles
- Are able to pass New York state inspection and be safe and reliable for under $1,500
- Are fuel efficient