Cash for Clunkers Could Hurt Ministries

Christian Newswire:  The Federal Government’s Cash for Clunkers program proved to be so popular that Congress is looking at authorizing billions of dollars to extend it. But, not everybody is applauding the auto buy back plan. “One man’s clunker is another man’s coat” said Ron Marlette, executive director of Mission Solano that operates a charitable car lot on North Texas Blvd. in Fairfield, California. In exchange for tax benefits, community members have been dropping off their old cars at the Mission Solano lot for years. There the cars are sold to provide much needed funding for the Mission’s work with the homeless. Now the cash offered by the government threatens to dry up donations of cars to the Mission.

“It is too early to know how much we will be hurt by the Cash for Clunkers program, but we know we can’t compete with the government’s checkbook” said Marlette. “Our donations were already down due to the economy as people are driving their old cars longer or brokering a sale themselves. The Cash for Clunkers program could shut us down.”

While the government’s intervention will decrease the inventory donated to charitable car lots, it will also reduce the number of low priced cars available for resale. The Cash for Clunkers program requires that the “clunkers” be destroyed, decreasing the options for cash strapped buyers looking for transportation. Marlette points out, “we often sell our cars to individuals who cannot afford anything else. In some cases these are men and women who have been helped off the streets by the Mission. Now they have a job and need cheap wheels to get there. They can’t buy a new car. What are they supposed to do?”

Mission Solano provides food, shelter, counseling and training for the most vulnerable in Solano County. The Mission is scheduled to open its 154 bed Bridge to Life Center in Fairfield by the end of the year. Mission Solano is a 501(c) 3 charitable organization.

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