Life without a car can be difficult at best and unmanageable at worst. For low-income families across Maryland, especially recipients of funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, transportation may be a significant hurdle in finding gainful employment and moving toward financial independence. Indeed, employers cite transportation problems as the second-most common reason for losing entry-level workers.
Through a network of partners across the state, TAP provides reliable used vehicles that will serve eligible low-income families for two years or 24,000 miles, often leading to the following dramatic improvements:
Better Jobs with Greater Incomes
Even in regions with a strong transit system, many low-income families have trouble getting to jobs for which they’re qualified. Some are even forced to turn down good positions in favor of lower paying jobs with better transit access. A car gives people access to better job opportunities and the flexibility to work extra shifts or overtime.
It isn’t unusual for low-income families to spend four to five hours a day commuting to and from work, sometimes taking multiple modes of transportation. For parents, a reliable vehicle translates into more time spent at home with children, and more flexibility to take care of life’s unforeseen needs.
Vehicles enable positive behavioral changes. Access to a car makes it easier for families to seek preventive medical care, find the time to exercise, and make trips to grocery stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables.
When parents have shorter commutes, children are much more likely to play on sports teams and participate in special after-school activities. Without the restrictions of public transit, families can take advantage opportunities for enrichment that weren’t previously possible.