Pathway to Transportation

Connecting ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Families to Safe, Reliable and Affordable Private Transportation

Transportation is identified in the ALICE Report as a major need in rural Frederick County. Access to private transportation is critical to those seeking new career opportunities, access to medical care, and opportunities to seek more suitable housing.
 
ALICE families are those who are unable to afford a basic cost of living. According the ALICE Report, 37% of Frederick County households are ALICE. They are restaurant workers, retirement home nurses, retail clerks and teachers who are relied upon every day.
 
The ultimate outcome of the Pathway to Transportation program is moving ALICE families to a position of long-term financial stability.
 
 
How it works:
  • Participants must save a portion of the total expense and participate in budget coaching and credit counseling in order to purchase a car through our program.
  • The program requires participants to save only a portion of the total cost of their vehicle while maintaining a direct sale between Second Chances Garage.
  • United Way of Frederick County will match each participant’s savings for the remainder of each car’s cost.

 

How do I apply for the program?

  1. Review income eligibility
  2. Complete the Pre-Qualification Form.
  3. You will receive an invitation to complete a full application if qualified.
  4. Upon completion of your application, you will schedule an appointment with a United Way staff member to submit required documentation.
  5. You will receive instructions to open a savings account with Woodsboro Bank.
  6. Next, you will complete the program requirement by saving a portion of the total expense and request a withdrawal form to use your savings towards the purchase of a car.

 

For more information, please contact Joyce Kwamena-Poh at Jkwamenapoh@uwfrederick.org.

 

Car Donations

Pathway to Transportation will be successful if there are sufficient donated cars available at Second Chances Garage.  If you are able, please consider a car donation.  To learn more about car donations to Second Chances Garage, please visit www.secondchancesgarage.org/car-donation/.

 

The Pathway to Transportation program is made possible thanks to our sponsors:

Program Sponsors

 
 

Program Partners

 

United Way of Frederick is the recipient of $50,000 grant from L-X Ranch Foundation for the Pathway to Transportation program.

The L-X Ranch Foundation promotes human dignity and potential by investing in education, fulfilling basic needs, and enhancing opportunities to experience nature.

 

...and donors like you.  Thank you!

The need for safe, reliable, affordable, and real-time transportation is more important than ever in Frederick.  To provide solutions which help families overcome transportation barriers, the United Way of Frederick County (UWFC) has created and established the Auto Repair Fund. 

UWFC’s Auto Repair Fund, in partnership with Second Chances Garage, will help reduce the cost of vehicle repairs for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households.  Although the Auto Repair Fund is a standalone program, it may also be used in conjunction with the Auto-Ownership Matched Savings program.  The Matched Savings program is yet another joint initiative between UWFC and Second Chances Garage aimed at helping ALICE families overcome transportation barriers.  

The new Auto Repair Fund will provide ALICE families with additional financial assistance to further reduce the cost of owning and maintaining a car, keeping the car safe and road worthy.  

How it works: 

Participants may receive up to a $200 discount per car repair invoice for ALICE families if eligible (sole discretion for granting discount is given to Second Chances Garage).  

Funds must be used for mechanical, safety-related, or other complex repairs (e.g., brake repairs/replacement, electrical malfunctions, steering/suspension repairs, unexpected flat tire, etc.).   

The Auto Repair Fund does not cover standard vehicle maintenance (e.g., oil and filter changes, air filters, wiper blades, etc.).  

The Auto Repair Fund will continue through December 31, 2022. The initiative is contingent on additional funding. 

For questions, email Veronica Henry at vhenry@uwfrederick.org 

Prosperity Accounts (also known as Individual Development Accounts – IDAs) are an innovative financial product and economic development tool used by community organizations throughout the United States to stimulate participants' savings rates, build their assets, and connect these individuals to the economic mainstream. Private foundations and the public sector fund most of the programs. The following four-step process documents how a saver moves through the Prosperity Account program. 

 
STEP 1 – Pre-qualification and Application

All Prosperity Account savers must complete and submit a prosperity savings account application and required documentation. A Pre-qualification survey can be taken here.

Once a saver has pre-qualified, they must complete and submit a Prosperity Account application with the required documentation.

 

STEP 2 - Opening an IDA Account

All savers meet with a United Way administrator to review application, current household budget, discuss asset goals, review policies and procedures and complete savings plan agreement. Approved applicants will be referred to a designated financial institution for account opening. 

 

STEP 3 - Financial Education Training

Budget Coaching and Credit Counseling is required prior to the purchase of their savings goal. Community partners provide valuable information to help increase the likelihood of successful asset purchase and retention. One hour of the Budget Coach program is required for every month (up to 12 months).

 

STEP 4 - Withdrawal, Asset Purchasing, and Beyond

In Step 4, savers, with staff assistance, are ready to make bank withdrawals from their Prosperity Account to purchase a home.

 

For a detailed breakdown of how the Prosperity Account program works, please refer to United Way Prosperity Account Policies and Procedures Manual

Am I automatically accepted in the program if I meet all of the necessary requirements?

Applicants are admitted into the program if they complete the application process and are approved to open a Prosperity Savings Account.

 

This sounds like a great deal, but I thought there was no such thing as free money. What's the catch?

There's no real catch to the Prosperity Accounts. There are a few requirements for you to participate. Participation in the Budget Coach Program and attending a Credit Cafe workshop are required to access the match funds.

Also, your savings and matching funds can only be used towards the purchase of your car from Second Chances Garage. 

 

How do we know Prosperity Accounts will be used as intended?

Provisions are built in to ensure compliance. Savers are informed of the eligible uses for Prosperity Accounts, and are motivated to comply because Prosperity Accounts provide a route to their dreams. The Evangelical Lutheran Church (Frederick) provides the match funds when a saver is ready to purchase a vehicle and has completed all the program requirements. 

 

Will I lose my Social Security disability benefits if I participate in a Prosperity Account?

No. Participating in a Prosperity Account (also known as Individual Development Accounts – IDAs) will NOT cause you to lose your Social Security disability benefits. Social Security disability benefits can be provided in two ways: through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or through Supplemental Security Income (SSI). For the former (SSDI), any resources or assets do not affect income when determining eligibility or when calculating benefit payment amounts. As for SSI, the Social Security website states explicitly that money saved in an Individual Development Account is not counted when determining SSI eligibility or when calculating benefit payments. Moreover, in response to a question about the affect of IDA savings on SSI benefits, the website states, “Your SSI benefit will not go down—it might even go up!" In addition, any interest earned on an individual’s own contributions is excluded from SSI’s definition of countable income and resources. 

 

Do I need a lot of money to open a Prosperity Account?

The initial deposit to open a Prosperity Account is $200.

 

Where are savings deposited?

Certain designated financial institutions have agreed to establish special Prosperity Accounts, jointly owned by United Way of Frederick County and you.

 

Will I have access to my money once I deposit my savings into my account?

Because Prosperity Accounts are intended to help people purchase assets, withdrawals for non-asset uses are strongly discouraged. Participants are always free to close their accounts and withdraw from the program but will not receive the match for early withdrawal.

 

What if I have an emergency and need the savings I have put in my Prosperity Account?

All of our account holders will be allowed to withdraw their savings to help deal with emergencies that involve eviction, loss of a home, loss of employment, and medical emergencies. You'd be able to make this withdrawal without losing your match money, as long as you replace the emergency funds you’ve withdrawn.

 

How do I receive match funds?

Matching funds are provided by the Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church. A check will be issued directly to Second Chances Garage.

 

Where does all this match money come from?

Matching funds are provided by the Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church.

 

Is there a chance United Way of Frederick County won't have money when it comes time for me to buy the asset I've been saving for?

Matching money is based on availability of funds from the funding partner.

See below for a quick list of resources explaining the process of qualification, application, and sustained participation with a Prosperity Savings Account:

Other Resources