Access to transportation can provide freedom and opportunity. Did you know there are several local and national programs that help disabled and low-income individuals obtain transportation? Here’s a list of organizations that provide free cars, low and interest-free vehicle loans, and auto auctions:
- Vehicles For Change (Maryland-Virginia-D.C.)
Since 1999, VFC has provided over 6,900 vehicles to low-income families. To be eligible to apply for VFC, you must:
• Be a resident or Maryland or Virginia
• Be referred by one of the sponsoring agencies listed here
• Have a verifiable job offer or be working at least 30 hours a week
• Have a driver’s license in the state in which you reside
• Be insurable (no DUIs)
• Not have any other vehicle in your household
• Be drug free
• Be able to cover fees for taxes, tags, and title (approximately $500)
• If you are under the age of 25, you must have children
- 1-800-Charity Cars, Free Charity Cars (Nacional)
This nonprofit was one of the first in the US to start a car donation program in 1996. They aim to primarily serve:
- Victims of domestic violence
- Those in medical need
- Victims of natural disasters
- Families transitioning from public assistance to work
To apply, fill out this form (ingles). You will need to answer questions about your annual income, current employment or benefits, the number of children in the household and whether you can operate a manual vehicle. The box at the bottom of the page gives space for you to share any other details of your current situation that may make your application stronger.
- Cars 4 Christmas (Nacional)
This Missouri-based nonprofit provides cars to families and individuals in need nationwide. They receive thousands of applications each year however. This year, C4C will announce 20 recipients at their event on Dec. 20. To apply, fill out the form here (ingles) with your name, address, contact information and info on transportation needs (any medical limitations of the recipient, number of children, their age, if they need a car seat etc.). If you are selected, C4C will contact you for an interview.
- WithCauses.org (Nacional)
This organization requests and receives all types of donations from the public, from computers to property. Fill out the form here (ingles) with your contact information and request the type of help you are seeking. Applications are on file for 30 days. If you don’t hear back in that time frame, apply again.
- Good News Garage (Massachusetts, Vermont)
This registered nonprofit has provided over 5,000 cars to New England families. They receive car donations from the public
Vermont: Reach Up program
Massachusetts: Must be a client of the Mass. Rehabilitation Commission and obtain a referral
- Wheels to Work (search for locations)Goodwill has programs in several states throughout the US, including:
Maryland Wheels to Work
To find a location in your area, use a search engine (EX: “Wheels to Work Sacramento”).
- Cars 4 Heroes
Cars 4 Heroes is operated by Cars 4 Christmas. This program provides transportation for military veterans. This application asks for information like dates of service, special honors, type of discharge and proof of military ID. Apply here (ingles).
- Working Cars for Working Families
This nonprofit, managed by the National Consumer Law Center, helps manage three types of vehicle ownership programs: donations to low-income families, financial auto loans with special terms/discounts for those with credit issues, and matched vehicle savings programs. Each program has different eligibility requirements. Contact the programs in your area to find out if you are eligible to participate. Search by zip code here (ingles).
- Auto Auctions
Cars with cosmetic damage (hail, etc.) are often auctioned at deep discounts. If you have a good knowledge of what to check for when considering a used vehicle, this may be a great option for a low-cost car. Check out this list of national car charities (ingles) that accept car donations. Contact to learn more about their application process for vehicle recipients.
- The Grantsmanship Center
This is a useful resource for locating available car grants in your state. It provides funding information from corporations, foundations and the government by state. Click on your state to see a list of community organizations and grant resources you may be eligible for.