Here's an Associated Press article about Ways to Work, a charity that helps poor families buy used cars, increasing their ability to work.
Let's highlight the good things about this program:
- Each person looking for a loan is carefuly vetted.
- Counselors help look for existing charity programs the loan recipient already qualifies for.
- Counselors also point out expenses that can be cut from the budget. (I wish it were a joke that you can see DirecTV satellite dishes on the sides of Chicago public housing buildings.)
- It doesn't force groups like banks to do something they wouldn't normally do: make risky and unprofitable loans.
- The loans aren't going to spinning rims or other ridiculous extravagances.
This program is thematically similar to the microloan programs in the Third World that are effective and cost-effective. We need more good programs like this, and less uncontrolled government largesse!