San Mateo County program lends way to work

Getting or keeping a job can be difficult without a car, particularly if public transportation options aren’t nearby. With this in mind, the nonprofit Family Service Agency of San Mateo County launched Ways to Work in 1997.

The program provides low-interest car loans to low-income parents and offers classes on how to plan and budget so participants can repay loans. Private banking partners manage the loans, according to the organization.

A survey of participants by the agency revealed a reduction in time spent getting to work and an 87 percent drop in missed work time.

Ways to Work is part of a larger, national program based in Wisconsin that has provided $50 million in loan funds to 27,000 families in the last 20 years.