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Free Cars for Low Income Families – 5 Options

Free Cars for Low Income Families – 5 Options

Free car programs are available all over the United States, but it can be difficult to separate the real programs from the scams. Fortunately, we’ve done a bunch of research and we’re here to help.

We know what it’s like to need a car for free. In 2018, I’d reached the end of my rope. Our vehicle was held together by duct tape and prayer, and we were told that it needed an expensive $5,000 repair. I didn’t know what we were going to do!

Fortunately, someone told me about the Progressive Keys to Progress vehicle giveaway. My husband is a disabled veteran, so I knew we qualified. I was so excited to apply – and even more excited when I received a call from the organization, asking if we could accept a 5-seat vehicle. Unfortunately, we have five kids and couldn’t make such a small vehicle work for our family so we passed it on to another veteran in need… but it was so exciting to know that we technically won a free car, even if we couldn’t keep it!

If you stick around to the end of this post, I’ll also reveal a few tips that helped us win that free car. Hopefully, you can use these tips to win your own car for free as well!

Why are free cars important?

Obviously, transportation is necessary for low income families to get to work, school, doctor’s appointments and more. Life without a working vehicle can be very difficult, especially in rural areas or areas without reliable public transportation.

Many organizations have recognized this hardship, and that’s why they provide free cars to low income families who need them.

free cars for low income families

5 Nationwide Programs that Provide Free Cars for Low Income Families

There are many legitimate organizations that offer free cars for low income families. All of these programs have specific and unique requirements, so you may not qualify for all of them.

Here are the ones that we’ve personally verified.

Progressive Keys to Progress Giveaway

Every year, Progressive gives away about 100 cars to veterans in need. This is the one that we won in 2017! We’ll give you all the information and show you how we wrote our winning application here.

1-800-Charity-Cars

Since 1996, Charity Cars has been encourage people to donate cars to the organization so the organization can then donate cars to families in need. As America’s #1 car donation charity, Charity Cars has been featured on Oprah, Good Morning America and other major outlets. They are especially known for providing free cars for disabled veterans, victims of domestic violence, families living in shelters and victims of natural disasters.

To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  • United States resident
  • Age 18+
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • At or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level ($48,600 for a family of 4 in 2016)
  • No sustainable transportation

In order to receive a car, you will need to have access to a computer and internet service. You’ll need to be able to sign up and create an account at www.freecharitycars.org. You’ll complete an application, generate votes to move up the waiting list and remain access on the site.

Working Cars for Working Families

Many organizations that focus on getting free cars to those in need have formed a coalition at workingcarsforworkingfamilies.org. Use their nifty Find a Program tool to find agencies that provide free cars, low cost auto repair or low income auto loans in your area.

A search in the Portland, Oregon, area directs users to contact Ways to Work Inc. at (503) 688-1785 for help obtaining a reliable vehicle. According to the Ways to Work website, “The ability to access affordable loans to purchase, repair, or refinance a car can be life-changing for working parents.  As part of the national Ways to Work program, we’re getting parents on the road when they need it most.”

Ways to Work

When you rely on a vehicle to get to work, losing your transportation can be an absolute disaster. Ways to Work doesn’t provide free cars but they do provide small, low interest loans to qualifying low-income applicants. Loans will be for no longer than 30 months and no more than 8% interest.

To qualify, you must reside in a service area and meet the following criteria:

  • 6 months of continuous employment OR enrolled in a post-high school education program
  • Be an involved parent of dependent child(ren)
  • Unable to obtain conventional loan resources
  • Have enough disposable income to make payments
  • Have a household income that is 80% or less than the area’s median income

To apply, you will need to visit a local loan office. Loan offices are available in 13 states. Click here to find one near you!

Local Programs that Provide Free Cars

Of course, there are many local organizations and programs that help low income families get a car for free as well.

Virginia

We’ve found programs that offer free cars in Virginia!

United Methodist Car Ministry (Northern Virginia only)

The United Methodist Church operates a Car Ministry for the poor, the needy and full time ministry workers. They have provided thousands of vehicles since their founding in 1984. On average, they donate 50-150 vehicles per year.

All vehicles must run well and pass Virginia safety and emission standards before they are given to low income families. The Car Ministry recognizes that providing faulty vehicles that need repair could cause more problems that it would solve, so they are very careful to maintain the quality of their vehicles.

In order to receive a free car from United Methodist Car Ministry, you will need to be referred by a social worker or pastor. You will also need to complete this application.

Save Money & Get Free Stuff

Nicole leads the Low Income Relief team with over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. 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, eHow, Livestrong, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more.

Richard winnie

Thursday 17th of November 2022

I’m living with friends who can’t afford to have me here anymore I finally got a job but I have no vehicle to get back-and-forth to work is there anyone out there that can help me I am 56 years old

Catherine Marucci

Thursday 17th of November 2022

Hi Richard. It may be worth calling 211 to see if they know of any programs in your area. This article might also be helpful: https://lowincomerelief.com/assistance-with-transportation/

stacey

Thursday 17th of November 2022

Hello if you can please help me find a place in st. joseph mo or close by that can help with a car. my car blow the the motor up and no money to fix it we are barely keeping your roof over our heads. and my man's having trouble getting back and forth to work and we fighting to keep his daughter and we have no way to appts that are over 50 miles away from us I'm disabled and we really need a car help please desperate in Missouri

Catherine Marucci

Thursday 17th of November 2022

Hi Stacey. If the resources listed above are not helpful in your area, it may be worth calling 211 to see if they know of any local programs that you may be eligible for.

Jeff

Tuesday 15th of November 2022

I live in Albuquerque NM and haven't had a vehicle in 2 years. My vehicle seized broke down on the freeway and low and behold my vehicle was involved in a class action law suit and I received a very small amount for it. I'm a veteran with disabilities and have been unemployed for 2 years. My age is very difficult to find work, but I'm not giving up. Wish Albuquerque had a program to apply for. Thanks for all you do. Jeff

Lindy F. Carter Jr.

Monday 7th of November 2022

hello thank you for all the info but I get lost easy as I have an learning disability and other disability's .I'm pretty sure that I don't live in any of the areas for free cars .Me and my wife are disabled and we had to take custody of our 2 grandchildren because my son and his wife where not doing the right things a parent needs to be doing with children. and they are very happy and are learning a lot its been very good for me and my wife also but since we had to take them in with no help because we both live on disability income the bills and mortgage have gotten real far behind and are car has just died . it just keeps on dumping on us but we just smile and say we are going to make it somehow. we live in florida and it is so hard to find help I just keep looking every day but I get nowhere maybe you can help please I have looked in the directions you have posted for others but i don't know if im doing it right I know you guys are busy but can you lead me in the right direction for help with mortgage utility's and car I know its a lot but I don't know what else to do I feel helpless thank you so much in advance.we couldn't pay the phone bill either so we are without that also.

Catherine Marucci

Tuesday 8th of November 2022

Hi Lindy. It can be a struggle! Your local Community Action Agency may be able to assist with some things: https://lowincomerelief.com/what-is-a-community-action-agency-a-helpful-guide/ Also, here are some other resources that may be helpful: https://lowincomerelief.com/assistance-with-transportation/ https://lowincomerelief.com/rent-relief/

Ashlie Crose

Tuesday 1st of November 2022

finding help in all areas in my county is a nightmare i recently had the wost last 47 days ever between losing my mother 5 days later my kids father we about lost do to a bad motorcycle accident thank you to our lord for protecting him and then 2 weeks before all that some lady hit him in our suv totaling it and last 2 years ive had nothing but car issues with mine and scary when running for my 3 small babies to be in it. i ad now within 30+ days lost my job underso much stress im now being evicted from my home and me n my 3 children have noone or no where to go my county i live in is horrible on finding the right answers for help... i feel as if im failing as a mother now and its a nightmare. i put my trust in god n try to not give up hope so thank you for listening

Catherine Marucci

Tuesday 1st of November 2022

Hi Ashlie. That's a lot to go through all at once! Don't give up faith. Here are some things that may be able to make it a little easier to get through: https://lowincomerelief.com/low-income-housing-with-no-waiting-list/ https://lowincomerelief.com/assistance-with-transportation/ https://lowincomerelief.com/rent-relief/ https://lowincomerelief.com/rental-security-deposit-assistance/