CLEARFIELD – Central Pennsylvania Community Action Inc., (CPCA) has been awarded a Discretionary Grant for $150,000 from the Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) for a Pilot program called the “Vehicle Assistance Program” (VAP), according to CPCA Executive Director Stacy LoCastro.
The program, she said, will assist consumers with vehicle purchases and other related vehicle issues. The CPCA will partner with the Center for Community Action and Blair County Community Action. The grant will cover the following six counties: Centre, Clearfield, Huntington, Fulton, Bedford and Blair.
Vehicle problems exist throughout the counties because of their rural nature, said LoCastro. For Centre County, she said the average commute time is 19 minutes and the commute time is even longer for Clearfield County at 24 minutes. LoCastro said that the lack of affordable housing within the counties makes commuting times to and from work longer and reliable transportation is essential to maintaining employment due to the long commute times.
According to LoCastro, the VAP program will assist individuals from low income households struggling to hold a job due to lack of a vehicle, or other needed vehicle repairs and services. She said that the program will provide an allotment of up to $2,500 to help purchase a vehicle from a certified car dealership, $1,000 for larger repairs and up to $50 will be provided to perform necessary required services to keep the car running efficiently and legally (i.e. state inspections).
“We will also work with local banks to help secure low-interest loans for consumers and work further with consumers with poor or no credit. The CPCA will also be working with the County Assistance Office and their one-time assistance grants, if the consumers have funding left and are eligible,” she said.
She said that the following will be requirements of the grant: 1) low income individuals under $125 percent of poverty, 2) individuals currently working (must show written proof), 3) have an offer of employment secured (must show written proof); and 4) be without any other vehicle in the home. There will be no exceptions to any of the requirements, she said.
LoCastro said that the CPCA has been looking forward to creating a program such as this for quite some time. She said, “We feel this is a big need in our communities in helping maintain employment and working towards self-sufficiency.
“Unfortunately, this is one time funding, so we will be searching for opportunities to build upon this for the future.”
For more information regarding this program, please contact Timothy Finney at either 814-342-0404 or 800-822-2610.