Family Promise Union County Helps Families on The Road to Independence

April 26, 2021

Imagine your car breaks down for the second time this month. You spent hours searching job boards, crafting the perfect resume, and dressing your best only for your car to break down on the day of the final round interview. A minor car repair seems like the only thing standing in your way of landing a job, creating a money management plan to start your path to financial wellness, and eventually finding independent housing.

For many, an unlucky event, like a car repair, can spiral them back to rock bottom. That is why Family Promise Union County’s Road to Success program prioritizes transportation for our guests.

Without a functioning car, guests struggle to get to work every day and jeopardize losing their jobs. Without jobs, moving toward independent living and providing more opportunities for their children is that much harder to accomplish.

Donated cars allow Family Promise Union County guests to keep their jobs, continue toward their goals, and eliminate stress.

“The gift of a car transforms a person’s life,” said Geleen Donovan, Executive Director of Family Promise Union County. “Having reliable transportation is a huge piece of job readiness.”

In 2020, the Affiliate assisted over 50 families with successful job searches. Through their Roads to Success transportation program, the Affiliate donated seven cars to help individuals get to work and maintain employment.

According to a 2017 study by the American Automobile Association, the average auto repair bill can cost between $500-$600. One in three drivers cannot afford to pay this without incurring debt.

“We do a lot of car donations and repairs to keep people on the road,” said Donovan, who understands that guests may not be able to pay all their bills each month. “We don’t want our families to have to choose. This is a critical part of keeping people employed and housed.”

Public transportation in New Jersey can be unreliable or hard to access depending on where families live and where they are able to find employment. A half hour commute by car could more than double by bus and train. Some try to get around these challenges with Lyft or Uber. However, this can cost them up to $1,000 a month.

FPUC partners with Arrow Motors in Linden and Maple Crest Ford in Union to purchase low mileage cars when funding permits. Magie Delta Gas Station in Union also provides low-costs repairs to clients.

When families have access to a car, they can increase their earning opportunities and save valuable time.

“With a car, they can take that second shift or third shift when that public transportation isn’t running as well,” said Donovan. “It truly gives our clients a foundation for job success that can launch them into an independent and sustainable life.”

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