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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) – The CARes Project, Inc. helps people who struggle to find a dependable ride. It is the only program in the Piedmont Triad that helps participants finance a used vehicle with a warranty and scheduled maintenance. Clients learn to manage their money along the way.

“Our average client has a FICO score of 534 points. That means the bank won’t lend to them but we will because we teach people how to budget their money, how to manage their money and then we have a 3-5 year relationship with them,” CEO Scott McLaughlin said. “We believe reliable transportation is an absolute necessity for a family’s well-being.”

McLaughlin says the average client sees their FICO credit score go up more than 100 points while working to pay off their loan.

A grant from The Winston-Salem Foundation and a partnership with Flow Motors allow the nonprofit to offer financing options. Sales representatives like Kevin Bruce work with clients to find the right vehicle and make sure it fits the criteria of the Car Ownership Program. He also works to build a relationship with them.

“We try to take care of the people of the community. People who get back and forth to work turn out to be better citizens because they can acquire things they want and take care of the people they love,” Bruce said.

Courtney Johnson says she learned about the program at the right time. Her car was unreliable and she was worried about having to choose between paying for repairs or food for her children. As a client in The CARes Project, Inc., she paid off her loan and is now encouraging others to get involved.

“It was beyond amazing. They made it very comfortable, very warming, very open,” Johnson said.

Robert Hinton says The CARes Project, Inc. gave him a second chance at building his credit. He was considered a high-risk borrower and found it difficult to qualify for a loan. He relied on city transportation but often had trouble navigating the routes. Now, Hinton is in his own car and can get where he wants to go.

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“There’s no more having to wait. the convenience of having it goes beyond- beyond what I could have imagined.”

To qualify for a loan through The CARes Project, Inc. you must live in Forsyth, Davidson or Davie county and have a credit score less than 600.

You can learn more about the Car Ownership Program requirements and how the process works by visiting the CARes Project website.