Car loan program helps some with bad credit

February 7, 2011 3:04:39 PM PST
Living here in Houston, it's almost impossible to get around or get a job without a car. That's why the Family Services of Greater Houston is helping those who might not qualify for a car loan get back on the road.

Car dealers often promise to finance anyone; no credit, bad credit, but that usually means you have to pay sky high interest rates. But there's another option. It's called the 'Ways to Work' program and it helps parents get into the driver's seat and on the road to better lives.

When Amy Watts' used car was giving her problems, she needed to find a way out. The single mom couldn't keep up with the monthly payments and her car loan had an interest rate of a whopping 24 percent. She wasn't sure how she was going to financially keep up, and all that stress trickled down to her son, Aiden.

"His grades in school weren't as good because I wasn't there as much to help him with his homework and I wasn't around as much because I'm always trying to figure out how I was going to get to work," Watts said.

That's when she heard about the Family Services of Greater Houston's Ways to Work program.

"Mostly, we service single moms who need a hand up instead of hand out," Deidra Jackson with Family Services of Greater Houston said.

You have to be accepted into the Ways to Work program and the interest rate for a car loan is a flat 8 percent for a 24-month period.

"We provide low interest automobile loans to working parents with poor credit or no credit," Jackson said.

In order to apply for the program, you must be a Harris County parent, worked for least six months at the same job, have a child or dependant in your care and a household income of up to $44,000 for a family of three. The program also includes a financial coach.

"We help them plan for now as well as in the future, to ensure that they're able to continue to make their payment," Jackson said.

Watts now has a 2003 Nissan Altima. Her next goal to save for a home she hopes to buy in two years, though she admits though being a single mom is a lot of pressure.

"There are some days I know that I am not doing it without the strength of God," Watts said.

Her son is now excelling in school. He got all A's on his last report card, and Watts says it's all because of the Ways to Work car loan program. It's helping her get to work so that she can provide a better life for her son.

"My thing is breaking the cycle. I didn't have the best mother and she didn't have the best mother and it seemed to go on in just this vicious cycle, and I want to be the one that's going to break that so my son can have a better life than I did," she said.

For more information on the program, click here.


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