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25 Charities That Help with Car Payments

25 Charities That Help with Car Payments

There are many charities that help with car payments around the United States! We’ve also found government programs and churches that can help, too. If you’re struggling to keep up with your car payments, this article will walk you through all the different options that are available to you.

At Low Income Relief, we know firsthand what it’s like to fall behind on those important payments. I’m Nicole, the owner and founder of Low Income Relief. I’ve personally watched two vehicles be repossessed due to nonpayment over the years, and I’ve fallen behind on my other payments countless times. I didn’t learn about all the options available to help me make those payments until it was too late, so please learn from my mistake!

Life just happens sometimes, and it’s hard. Fortunately, there are many organizations that are eager to help you navigate your difficult situation and we’ve listed them all below, organized into subheadings for your convenience.

Charities That Help with Car Payments

Let’s delve into the various charities that offer vital assistance with car payments, providing much-needed relief to those in tough financial situations.

Community Action Agency

Your local Community Action Agency may have a program that can help with car payments. These organizations are present throughout the United States but they operate locally so that they can adapt to meet local needs. Not every CAA will have a transportation program.

However, many of them do. CAP Services in Wisconsin even has a special Auto Lending Program that can help you buy a car if you don’t have good credit or if you’ve been denied financing elsewhere!

These programs are especially common in rural communities where a lack of public transportation makes it impossible for low income families to survive without a reliable car. In more urban areas, Community Action Agencies are more likely to provide free bus passes instead.

HOW TO GET HELP: You will need to contact your local Community Action Agency and ask if they have a program that can help you with your car payments. If they say no, ask if they know of any charities in your area that may be able to help. They usually have a thorough resource directory full of agencies that can help!

Help Me Bounce

Spare Key has incredible program called Help Me Bounce that may also be able to help. The goal of this program is to help low income families “bounce and not break” when they are going through a hard time.

This organization is privately funded, so you will have to give them permission to share your story as they gather donations. It appears that this program operates a little like a GoFundMe but it appears to offer more support.

WHO IS ELIGILBE: In order to be eligible for help from Help Me Bounce, you must be a US citizen who is struggling financially due to a medical crisis. The crisis could be either a critical illness or serious injury, as long as it resulted in reduced income and increased expenses.

HOW TO GET HELP: Start by filling out the application on the Help Me Bounce website. You’ll need family names, photos, a brief story, information about your funding goals and more.

Modest Needs

Modest Needs is a charity that provides small microgrants to people who are going through a hard time. They specialize in helping people who don’t qualify for other forms of assistance, like childless adults and low income workers who earn too much for SNAP or TANF funds.

This program has been helping low income Americans for more than 20 years. There is no fee to apply. The average grant from this program is between $750 and $1,250.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: You must be at least 18 years old, a legal resident of the United States or Canada, and you must pass income and employment tests. They give special consideration to childless adults, people living alone, recently discharged veterans, teachers, and first responders.

HOW TO GET HELP: Before you can apply, you need to register an account with ModestNeeds. Once you’ve registered, you can click the “For Applicants” tab and then “Apply for Help” to start your application. It takes about 20 minutes.

General Assistance / Town Welfare

Some areas of the United States are covered by vital safety nets called General Assistance or Town Welfare. These programs have money set aside to help low income residents with their basic needs, like food, shelter, utilities and sometimes even transportation. These funds are administered by your county, city or township office.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Eligibility requirements vary by location. You are usually expected to provide proof of identification, residency and income in order to apply.

HOW TO GET HELP: You will need to contact your county, city or township government to see if these funds are available in your area.

Churches That Help with Car Payments

Sometimes, there may be churches that help with car payments in your area as well! These faith-based organizations may be able to help you if you’re in a crisis, but you usually need to live within their congregation boundaries and sometimes you have to attend their Church to get help.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities has a variety of programs focused on helping low income families achieve self-sufficiency. Since transportation is a critical component of self-sufficiency, they may be able to help you with car payments as well. However, it is unclear.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Catholic Charities does not discriminate on the basis of religion. You do not have to be Catholic to get help.

HOW TO APPLY: Services vary by location, so you will need to contact your nearest Catholic Charities to see if they offer a program that can help you.

Lutheran Services

Lutheran Services in America has a network of over 300 health and human service organizations. Together, they have empowered more than six million people across over 1,400 communities! This organization truly has an extraordinary impact.

It is not clear if they have programs that can help with car payments. However, since they focus on helping people become self-sufficient and independent, it seems like something that would align with their overall mission. It never hurts to ask!

HOW TO GET HELP: Go to the Our Network page on the Lutheran Services website. Use the map to find the location nearest you. Contact them to see if they have a program that can help.

St. Vincent de Paul

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic relief organization that provides financial assistance to people who are experiencing hard times. Many Catholic Churches throughout the United States are partnered with St. Vincent de Paul and can distribute those funds.

Usually, SdVP provides financial assistance with rent, utilities, food and other essential needs. However, they may be able to help with car payments in extenuating circumstances or when funds allow.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: You must reside within the parish boundaries of a SdVP-affiliated Catholic Church in order to get assistance. The Church may set additional requirements.

HOW TO GET HELP: You will need to contact the SdVP-affiliated Church near you for application instructions. You can find them by calling 211 or using the “location “Finding Local Assistance & Services” tab on the St. Vincent de Paul USA website.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides financial assistance to its members through the use of fast offering donations. Each month, members of the Church fast from two meals and donate the money they saved to benefit those who are struggling financially in their community.

These funds are administered by the bishop of each congregation. The funds are generally reserved to benefit members of the ward but may be used to benefit non-members in limited circumstances.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Eligibility requirements may vary.

HOW TO GET HELP: You will need to contact the Relief Society President or Bishop of the congregation in your area. You can find your nearest congregation using the Meetinghouse Locator.

Other Churches that Help with Car Payments

You may be able to find additional Churches that provide financial assistance with auto loan payments by calling 211. This information network is organized by the United Way and can often connect you with additional resources that are not publicly advertised.

Government Help with Car Payments

Now, let’s shift our focus to the various government programs and assistance available that can help pay your car payment.

Diversion & TANF Cash Assistance

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a cash assistance program for very low income families. This program provides a cash stipend that can be used for various expenses, including car payments.

If you need more money quickly, some states will allow you to choose Diversion cash assistance instead. For example, Washington State has a Diversion program that can provide up to $1,250 to families who are experiencing a temporary hardship.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: You must be very low income and have at least one child under age 18 in your home.

HOW TO GET HELP: You can apply for cash assistance with your state’s TANF office. This is usually the same office that administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as SNAP or food stamps).

CPS

If you have children in your home and you are already involved with Child Protective Services, you may be able to get financial assistance from them to help with a temporary crisis.

CPS contributed $500 toward my crazy $3,364 power bill back in 2017! They may be able to help you with car payments as well, if it is needed to help your family remain stable and safe.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: You will need to have at least one child under age 18 in your home. I do not know if they will help you if you aren’t already involved with their organization.

HOW TO APPLY: Contact your CPS caseworker to ask if they have any programs that can help you.

Special Government Funds

Many counties have special funds set aside to help low income people in certain categories. For example, our county had a Veterans Fund that contributed $800 toward our crazy power bill. This fund was set aside to help veterans and their families with essential needs.

HOW TO APPLY: I found my county fund by searching their website. If you call 211, they may be able to help you identify if your county has a fund available. Your county government may also be able to help you figure it out.

Other Cash Assistance Programs

Any program that puts cash in your pocket can help you pay your car payments. These programs include the VA Family Caregiver Program, HEN Program, Guaranteed Income Programs and more.

We have a comprehensive list of cash assistance programs here.

Cancer Charities

Moving forward, let’s explore the compassionate world of cancer charities, which provide invaluable financial assistance, including help with car payments, to those bravely battling cancer and their families.

The Pink Fund

The Pink Fund is an organization that helps breast cancer patients with essential expenses. If you have a qualifying patient in your household, they may be able to pay your car payments for three months!

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: You must be in active treatment for breast cancer. Either you or your partner must have experienced a loss of working income after your diagnosis, and you must have a household income that is at or below 500% of the Federal Poverty Level. Other criteria may apply.

HOW TO GET HELP: Complete the prequalification questionnaire on their website. If you appear to be eligible, the application will be automatically unlocked.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Living Beyond Breast Cancer may be able to put $1,250 toward your car payments if you are battling breast cancer. This organization provides help only once in a lifetime.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: You must be a United States resident who is in active treatment for breast cancer. Your household income cannot exceed 400% of the Federal Poverty Level.

HOW TO GET HELP: It helps if you have your medical provider apply for you. We have instructions on how to do that in our LBBC Guide.

Jill’s Wish

Jill’s Wish can provide up to $1,500 toward your non-medical living expenses if you’ve been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. These expenses include things like rent or car payments.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: You must have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the last 12 months. You must meet income limits and live in certain parts of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, or Ohio, or in order to get help.

HOW TO APPLY: Click the “Get a Wish” button on the Jill’s Wish website to make your request.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer (Minnesota)

Residents of Minnesota currently receiving active breast cancer treatment might qualify for aid from Hope Chest. This fund has contributed over $2.2 million in assistance to more than 5,000 Minnesotans. Hope Chest offers support with various expenses, including rent, mortgages, car payments, utility bills, childcare, and nutrition services.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: You must be a Minnesota resident who is undergoing active treatment for breast cancer.

HOW TO APPLY: Get the application on the Hope Chest website. You will need the name and email address of a social worker or health care provider who can confirm your diagnosis and verify your treatment.

Shades of Pink Foundation (Michigan)

The Shades of Pink Foundation offers financial assistance to breast cancer patients residing in Southeast Michigan. They provide support with essential expenses such as housing, utilities, car payments, auto repair, insurance payments, transportation, child care, and other critical needs.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Breast cancer patients who live in Southeast Michigan may be eligible. You must live in either Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, or Wayne Counties to qualify.

HOW TO GET HELP: Ask your health care provider, social worker, or therapist to contact the Shades of Pink Foundation on your behalf. They do not accept applications directly from patients, so you will need to have someone on your health care team contact [email protected] to initiate your application.

Jason’s Friends Foundation (Wyoming)

Jason’s Friends Foundation offers financial assistance to Wyoming families affected by childhood cancer. They provide non-medical financial assistance with rent, mortgages, utilities, car payments or phone bills. They also assist with travel-related expenses, such as food, lodging, meals, groceries or airfare.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: This program serves families that include a child who has been diagnosed with cancer, brain tumor or a spinal cord tumor. The child must be 20 years old or younger. The parent must be a US citizen and a Wyoming resident. There are no income limits.

HOW TO GET HELP: Enroll on the Jason Friends Foundation website to get started.

Military & Veterans Charities

Next, we’ll shift our focus to a specialized group of organizations: charities dedicated to assisting military families, offering them essential support with car payments and other financial needs.

Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes

Since 2004, this program has provided financial assistance to veterans. You may be able to get help with mortgage payments, groceries, car payments and so much more!

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: You must be a disabled veteran who served on or after September 11, 2001.

HOW TO GET HELP: Fill out the online form on the Salute Heroes website to get started.

Helping Hands for Freedom

Military and wounded veteran families may be able to receive assistance from Helping Hands for Freedom’s Life Needs and Financial Assistance program. This fund can assist with rent, mortgage payments, insurance, car payments, utility bills, and some travel expenses.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: You must be a veteran family with at least one child age 18 or under at home. The veteran must have an honorable discharge.

HOW TO GET HELP: Download the application from the Helping Hands for Freedom website. You will need a copy of your DD214, current photo ID, front page of your most recent tax return, most recent bank statement and copies of debts.

Military Aid Societies

If you are an active duty member of the military, your branch of service may have a specific fund that can help you with your car payment.

You’ll need to contact your local post for help with:

HOW TO APPLY: In order to apply for help from a Military Aid Society, you will need to find out if there is a location near you. You are generally expected to contact the office closest to you to apply. If there isn’t one or if you need urgent help after-hours, you can call the American Red Cross at (877) 272-7337.

Operation Homefront

Operation Homefront offers Critical Financial Assistance. If you qualify, you may be able to receive financial assistance with a wide range of needs. They can help with everything from car payments to moving expenses!

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Active duty servicemembers and veterans who are wounded, ill or injured may be able to get help. Military servicemembers who are currently deployed are also eligible.

HOW TO GET HELP: Create an account on My Operation Homefront. Log in and submit your application.

VFW Foundation

VFW Foundation’s Unmet Needs Program provides help with a wide range of expenses. They can help you with everything from rent payments to child care. Auto payments are specifically listed as something they can help with!

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: You must be an active-duty service member who is experiencing a financial hardship that was caused by a deployment, military pay error, or currently pending medical discharge.

HOW TO APPLY: Click the Apply Today button on the Financial Grants page of the VFW website.

Other Options

If none of these options seem suitable for your situation, don’t worry; there are other alternatives that might better align with your needs and circumstances.

Refinancing

Refinancing your car loan can be a smart strategy to alleviate financial pressure, especially if you’re struggling with high monthly payments. By refinancing, you essentially replace your current car loan with a new one, usually with a lower interest rate and different terms.

This can lead to lower monthly payments, making it more manageable within your budget. Refinancing can be particularly beneficial if your credit score has improved since you took out your original loan, or if interest rates have dropped. It’s also a good option if you’re looking to extend your loan term to reduce monthly payments, though it’s important to remember this might increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Refinancing is a good fit for customers who have good credit and a history of on-time payments. The age of the vehicle, amount due on the loan, and other criteria may impact your eligibility.

HOW TO GET HELP: Contact your lender to see if they are willing to refinance the loan. You can also shop around for refinancing offers from different companies. Comparing rates is always the best way to make sure you get a good deal. Pay special attention to the interest rates and length of the loan. Longer terms usually result in lower monthly payments but increase the overall cost of the loan.

Lender Hardship Programs

Many auto lenders have hardship programs that can help you maintain your payments while you are going through a hard time. These can include deferment programs, late fee refunds and other ways of helping you manage your auto loans.

For example, TD Auto Finance has an incredible program called TD Cares. This program allows certain customers to defer payments for up to three months without late fees. Those payments just move to the end of your current loan agreement. This program has been advertised at various points over the last 10 years, usually after widespread hardships like the government shutdown of 2013, the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, and the widespread flooding in Vermont in 2023.

You may be able to access this or other hardship programs if you contact your lender for assistance.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Eligibility criteria is set by your lender and may vary.

HOW TO GET HELP: Communicate with your lender. Explain that you are going through a hard time, that you want to honor these debts, but that you need a little more time to make those payments. Ask if they have a hardship program that can help.

Relief Recap

There are dozens of charities that help with car payments. There are government programs, churches, and other organizations that can help as well. We have a comprehensive list in this article and we will continue adding to it as we uncover new resources. To get help with your auto loans, review the agencies in this list and pay close attention to the ‘who is eligible’ and ‘how to get help’ sections under each charity. You can also call 211 for more personalized assistance.

Nicole is the owner and lead researcher for Low Income Relief. She has over 20 years of professional research and writing experience, and she has been solely dedicated to investigating low income topics for the last 10 years. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more. Her work has also been featured by Google for Publishers and other leading industry publications.

Cordaria Bennett

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

Need help make a emergency car payment thanks.

Catherine Marucci

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

Hi Cordaria. If the resources above have not been helpful, it might be worth trying 211 to see if there is anything else they know of.