Driving Toward Success (DTS) Program

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Without their own affordable and easily accessible transportation, low-income families face major barriers to economic independence. They often lose their jobs, cannot pursue vocational training and are unable to take their children to medical appointments and/or proper child care.

In short, they become even more entrenched in the cycle of poverty. However, thanks to the successful Driving Toward Success (DTS) program struggling families are able to pursue educational/vocational opportunities and strengthen their self-sufficiency.

Driving Toward Success (DTS) program helps low-income working families – who have no mode of transportation of their own – obtain reconditioned used vehicles at a nominal cost. The DTS Program pays for the repair and inspection of vehicles from Vehicles for Change that refurbishes donated vehicles for sale to low-income individuals. 

For the last 14 years, more than 200 families purchased refurbished cars under the DTS program.

  • 45% landed better jobs and/or had their annual income increased by several thousands of dollars;
  • 85% were able to take their children to medical appointments;
  • 73% were able to get their children to/from child care and other after-school activities;
  • 32% were able to pursue academic/vocational training; and
  • 46% would have lost their jobs if they hadn’t purchased a car, due to work requirements, late work hours, commutes, etc.

Personal Impact

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Before she enrolled in the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program coordinated by the Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC), “Debbie” was able to work only at various minimum wage jobs because she had just a GED. She certainly did not earn enough as a single mom to independently support her four kids (ages 3-14). She enrolled in FSS and her life started to turn around. She obtained the training to become a CNA/GNA and soon thereafter began working in a large well-known skilled care facility. Her supervisors liked her work and wanted to give Debbie full-time hours. However, this change required that she have reliable transportation to travel to various locations throughout the county. She was stuck because she had no car of her own. Fortunately, DTS helped Debbie to reach this next milestone in her life. Through DTS, Debbie purchased a mini-van – perfect for her four kids. Soon afterwards she was promoted to a full-time position that offered benefits. This motivated Debbie to advance herself even further.  After a few months working full-time, she got a new full time job working in a cardiologist office. Her salary was doubled and her benefits package increased to include dental coverage. After all of this, Debbie had the time and the means to take her kids to theatrical lessons, sports and other extracurricular activities, as well as go back to college for a nursing degree. Debbie’s vehicle through DTS has made a huge impact on her life and the future of the children.

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