(ANOKA) – Since the COVID pandemic began, about 60,000 Anoka County residents have filed for unemployment. For some, having a working car stands in the way of finding a new job.
A program to help eligible families with car repair is getting a boost. Since mid-August, Anoka County has spent nearly $90,000 in federal CARES Act grants to help repair cars for workers impacted by COVID. The money fixes cars for people who have lost jobs or have reduced hours due to the COVID pandemic. Because of its popularity, officials added another $25,000 to the program to help people travel to jobs, or to find work.
“Having a car provides access to medical appointments, a new job or a training opportunity,” says Nicole Swanson, the director of the Job Training Center in Blaine.
Swanson says having a working car is key to getting some people back to work again.
“You need a job to pay for housing, you need housing to get a job, and so a car especially in Anoka county when you have individuals working in Anoka county and leaving Anoka county to go for work back and forth and having limited transportation options possibly through mass transportation, this really assists people to get to that next opportunity,” said Swanson.
Swanson says car repairs often go on the back burner when someone loses a job. The program pays for up to $2,000 in car repairs, and $700 for insurance. The money comes from the $43 million federal CARES Act money received by Anoka County. You can find out more information, including eligibility rules by calling the Job Training Center, at 763-324-2318.