Academic journal article Policy & Practice of Public Human Services

MINNESOTA Moving from Welfare to Work

Academic journal article Policy & Practice of Public Human Services

MINNESOTA Moving from Welfare to Work

Article excerpt

One of the greatest barriers facing families as they move toward self-sufficiency is transportation. In east-central Minnesota, there is little, if any, public transportation. In the more remote areas of the region, it is not uncommon to travel 40 to 60 miles one way for employment. Communities Investing in Families (CIF), through its dedication to helping families move from welfare to work, has set out to help remove families' transportation barriers. One way in which CIF, a group of more than 100 organizations in a five-county region in east-central Minnesota, is accomplishing its goal is through its car loan program.

Valu Auto Inc. of Pine City has long been in the business of meeting welfare-to-work clients' needs for low-cost, reliable transportation. Valu Auto not only sells and finances reliable used vehicles, they specifically cater to those clients who may not qualify for conventional financing. They also refer clients to reputable auto service agencies and roll large repair costs into the clients' current financing.

Todd Cummings, the owner of Valu Auto, recognized right away that his business was a perfect fit for the program CIF was hoping to offer. "I realized they needed someone to find cars, fix them up so they're acceptable, and then be able to collect the money they're loaning to people who are trying to get on their feet."

Valu Auto is just one of many organizations helping CIF to reach its goal. …

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