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Renee’s Story

Every day, Renee faced the same question – how would she get to and from work that day?

Renee worked a split shift as a bus driver for one of Stark County’s school districts, a job that she needed to maintain if she hoped to pay down her debt. Occasionally she borrowed a family car to get to work or to take her kids to after-school activities. But it was always on the verge of breaking down, and it needed costly repairs. Without regular access to reliable transportation, she depended on friends and family for rides, not just once a day, but twice.

That’s when she discovered Ways to Work (now known as Cars to Career).

This program, provided through United Way of Greater Stark County, offers affordable, low-interest car loans for working individuals and families in our community.

Having been turned down by other lenders, Renee was excited to finally have a car loan she could afford and with it, a safe and reliable vehicle she could use to get to work. Through the program, she also received money management classes, budget coaching and monthly maintenance reminders.

After three years of regular payments, Renee excitedly paid off her car loan in full. Her credit score improved, and because of her steadfastness in paying down debt, she qualified to purchase a home through Habitat for Humanity of East Central Ohio.

Reliable transportation is essential for working individuals and families in our community, but the cost to purchase a vehicle is often an obstacle, particularly for those with challenged or credit histories. Through Ways to Work, United Way of Greater Stark County is helping more individuals, like Renee, get back on the road and maintain stable employment.