New “Ways to Work” Program Offers Low-Interest Car Loans

Our new Ways to Work program was established with dual goals to help working families with a low credit score or no credit to meet job and family needs as they raise their credit score and re-enter mainstream credit opportunities. The program serves as a local office of a unique Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) based in Milwaukee, WI, which has operated for more than 20 years.

Applicants who meet eligibility and repayment requirements will receive up to $6,000 with a loan interest cap of eight percent.

To qualify for a Ways to Work loan, an applicant must be a resident of Douglas, Sarpy or Washington Counties in Nebraska; or Pottawattamie or Mills County in Iowa. Applicants must have been employed for 20 hours or more weekly for six consecutive months, and meet low-income standards for the community. Because the program is set up to support families, each applicant must also be responsible for dependent children. All clients lack or have poor credit histories, and are ineligible for low-interest loans through mainstream financial institutions that are not set up to accommodate high-risk applicants. The Ways to Work program requires applicants to take a financial education course as part of the loan process.

To increase the client’s success in repaying the loan, Heartland Family Service Ways to Work staff guides borrowers through the loan application process and provides case management support regarding budgeting, credit ratings and financial planning. They help clients find reliable cars, keep in touch with them throughout the loan repayment period, and refer them to additional services to strengthen the borrower’s success for repayment. As with any conventional loan, fees apply and all loans must be repaid.

A special thanks goes to the employees of twenty-four Kwik Shops in our area donated a total of $16,211 to the program. In addition to the Kwik Shop donation, major funding for the local program was provided by MAPA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Walmart Foundation and Iowa West Foundation.

Learn more about Ways to Work.

Click here for a link to the National Ways to Work website.

Thanks to Wal-Mart for providing funding for this program!