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Jewish Family Service Offers Help for Essential Workers with Hand Up Cars Program

Low-interest Car Loans Available for Credit Challenged Families

San Diego CA— At a time when reliable transportation is crucial for those serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) is encouraging them – as well as any other credit-challenged individual in San Diego – to apply for its Hand Up Cars program, which facilitates low-interest car loans for low-to-moderate income residents in San Diego County.

According to recent data, 25% of San Diego’s essential workers do not own their own automobiles – making it more difficult and time consuming to get to work each day. To help, JFS’s Hand Up Cars program helps working families in the region achieve self-sufficiency through financial education and reliable transportation. Clients receive financing to buy a good used car, in conjunction with financial literacy training, car maintenance education and personalized coaching.

“For individuals and families intently working on moving forward in the face of the pandemic, we want to help them achieve the independence and security that comes along with owning their own vehicle,” said JFS CEO Michael Hopkins. “This is especially true for essential workers who do not have a reliable vehicle, have been victims of predatory car loans with high interest rates or rely on public transportation to get to work. Having access to a reliable personal vehicle at a low-interest rate can be a game changer. Where most lenders see a risk, we see a family.”

To qualify for a loan, applicants must be employed; an involved parent or guardian of a minor child; low-to-moderate income with a challenged credit history; at least 18 years old with a valid driver’s license; and have the ability to repay loan and costs related to car ownership, including insurance. Applicants must also be able to afford a 10% down payment.

The maximum loan amount is $10,000 at 12% interest with a term of no more than 60 months to buy a reliable used car. The program is designed to ensure clients’ monthly car payments will not exceed $250. After loan closing, the borrower receives ongoing financial coaching, resource coordination and referral facilitation from a JFS case manager for the duration of their loan repayment.

For more information about the Hand Up Cars program or to submit a confidential application for an auto loan, call Jewish Family Service at 858-637-3210 or visit www.jfssd.org/handupcars.


About Jewish Family Service of San Diego – Moving Forward Together

Founded in 1918, Jewish Family Service (JFS) is one of San Diego’s most impactful nonprofit agencies – providing resources and support to over 34,000 San Diegans this past year. Through integrated services, the organization empowers people of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds to overcome challenges, set goals, and build more stable, secure, and connected lives. JFS is committed to helping individuals and families in crisis move forward, while developing innovative strategies to break cycles of poverty and strengthen our San Diego community.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency adapted, revised and expanded its services to focus on what was needed most, including critical food assistance through a no-touch drive-thru distribution, meal delivery and self-care support for seniors, safe spaces for people living out of their vehicles, and employment services and counseling. From response to recovery, JFS will be there for the community and offer much needed relief and vital necessities. Together, we will make it through this.

To get help, volunteer or support JFS, visit www.jfssd.org or call 858-637-3000.