Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chicago Uptown Ministry Is Home Base for "Ways to Work" Program

From a press release:

"Finding and keeping a job these days is tough enough without having to worry about getting there. And it’s even more difficult for parents who need to figure out how to fit the needs of their children in the family transportation mix.

That’s where the Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois (LCFS) Ways to Work program comes in. Ways to Work is an LCFS joint venture with the Salvation Army to provide low-interest car loans to responsible working parents struggling with transportation. Chicago Uptown Ministry will serve as LCFS’ home base for this exciting program. (Chicago Uptown Ministry is a program of LCFS.)  Ways to Work is made possible through grants from the Chicago Community Trust, the Federal Transit Administration, the RTA and the Wal-Mart Foundation. An initial donation from the PNC Financial Services Group helped cover LCFS’ start-up costs for this venture.

The Ways to Work program provides financial education, a low-interest loan and support to working families, assisting them in stabilizing their financial situations and maintaining a state of self-sufficiency. Clients use the loans primarily to purchase reliable used cars to help them retain or move ahead in their jobs, reduce lateness and absenteeism at work, access additional education or job training and meet their family’s needs, such as transporting children to child care, doctors’ appointments and school activities. By successfully completing the Ways to Work program, participants improve their credit scores, giving them better access to future loans with more favorable rates than they had previously been eligible for and helping them avoid predatory lenders.

LCFS’ Director of Community Services DeBorah Al-Waraqi said, “I think this program will be a great opportunity for working families to receive assistance in a form they normally would be unable to obtain on their own.” Indeed, owning a car is not a luxury, but a necessity for many working families. Mass transit cannot meet the needs of all workers, especially those who have multi-point commutes or must bring children to daycare and school before going to work.

Qualifiers for the program must:
  • Be employed for at least 20 hours-a-week for at least six months
  • Reside in Cook County, Du Page County or Aurora (the long-term goal is to bring the program to Central and Southern Illinois)
  • Can be pursuing post high school education
  • Be a parent or guardian of a dependent child 18 year old or younger
  • Successfully complete the Ways to Work financial literacy program
Ways to Work loan recipients have few if any other opportunities to obtain affordable credit, because they lack credit histories or have poor credit ratings -- especially in a time of tight credit availability. Without Ways to Work, many would be forced into high-cost loans. This program is not for everybody. It's for individuals who are working and moving to financial stability, but still need affordable credit to sustain their progress.

Ways to Work is a program that not only helps families, but also helps to build communities by connecting with local financial institutions, employers and other human services providers.  Parents who are interested in Ways to Work and would like to see if they qualify should call 1-800-363-LCFS (5237)."  You can read more about this program, which is currently operating in more than twenty states, here.


  1. Good for the people of Chicago. Transportation just got a lot easier. Hope other states and countries implement something like this.

  2. I work with Jose Miranda and ways to work(Chicago) providing them with reliable vehicles . It is a really good program my name is Chris and my contact number is 773-809-4888