Updated: Mar 22
Transportation is essential to everyday life. Whether it be getting to work, going grocery shopping, or taking your kids to school, there’s no denying that access to transportation is imperative. However, for many people, there are many prohibitive costs that can limit this access. These hurdles can be difficult to overcome on your own, especially for someone who is new to owning a car or obtaining a license.
There are a variety of transportation programs that Community Action Duluth offers to support community members in overcoming these challenges. These programs are designed to meet each participant where they are at in their journey to acquiring means of transport. Anyone who lives, works, attends school, or worships in St. Louis County can qualify for the programs. From the first steps, CAD assists the participant in obtaining the materials necessary to procure a learner’s permit as well as coaching through the testing process. After that, volunteers will work with participants to practice driving around town. CAD will also help ensure the vehicle is safe and working properly with their car repair program.
For individuals looking to purchase a car, the Jumpstart program offers help with finding a car at a reasonable price. While this program takes several months to complete, it also assists with getting a low interest rate on a car loan by working with credit unions. One of the obstacles individuals face when obtaining or regaining their license is fines incurred from tickets. CAD offers legal support and advocacy to help individuals reduce or remove the fees keeping them from their license through the Driver Diversion Program.
CAD’s lead transportation coach is Liza Williamson, who has been working with CAD since October of 2020. She finds herself most fulfilled when her career is centered around helping people. Liza oversees the transportation services, and she has helped numerous people obtain their licenses. One of the highlights of her work has been helping a participant overcome over $1,300 in ticket fees. The participant needs a valid license to transport her three children and get to work, and Liza has helped her acquire the materials necessary to obtain her permit. In order to ensure her safety and ability to take her license test, CAD also helped the participant fix a tie rod on her car. Liza plans to continue her work expanding access to transportation to the citizens of St. Louis county and build upon the existing programs the organization offers.
A car, while it is convenient, is not the only form of transportation. Biking is an incredibly healthy way to exercise and get around at the same time. CAD also offers an opportunity for people to obtain a free bike, as well as a helmet, bike lock, and other biking accessories. Kids are also encouraged to participate as there are children’s bikes as well. If you have a working bicycle you would like to donate to the program, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org in order to set up a time to drop off the bike at the Damiano Center.