The Alpharetta Rotary Club members continue to give back to the community non-profit organizations in their efforts to truly assist families finding themselves at the poverty level and in need of a little help. In turn these donations ultimately contribute to the overall economic well-being of our citizens.
Alpharetta Rotary awarded a Block Grant of $35,000 to member organizations of the North Fulton Continuum of Care for projects that would help address the three barriers of housing, jobs and transportation to escape poverty within our community.
As part of the block grant, $15,000 was donated to go towards helping give car loan assistance for people who need to purchase a vehicle to get to work among other needed activities. This program is designed to help decrease a normal high risk interest rate to a lower rate that would be more affordable to individuals.
In North Fulton, where there is limited public transportation available, families may find that a lack of reliable transportation is a barrier preventing them from escaping the poverty line. The increased commute time from relying on public transportation means there is less time to work (lower income for hourly jobs), less time with family, and increased child care costs. However, families who are working towards financial stability and self-reliance and who are residents of the area’s nonprofit within the Continuum of Care may finally be able to own a reliable vehicle. The Auto Loan Assistance Program gives families the opportunity to move past the financial issues that caused higher interest rates and hindered their ability to purchase a reliable vehicle. For those who qualify, it helps them to acquire the vehicle at a lower interest rate, of which they can afford the lower payments because Alpharetta Rotary is buying down their rate.
Barbara Duffy, the Executive Director at North Fulton Community Charities, stated, “At North Fulton Community Charities we see many families who lose work because of lack of dependable transportation. Others resort to payday and high interest car loans that cannot be maintained on limited income and end up being repossessed. We are very excited about his innovative program which will enable qualified families to own a reliable car at an affordable price and take control of their own transportation. The Rotary Club of Alpharetta has once again demonstrated their commitment to funding programs that break down barriers and improve the quality of life of all residents.”
Per the most recent quarterly report (2016 Q3) on the State of the Automotive Finance Market from Experian, the average rate for a used car loan from a sub-prime borrower is 17.5%-20%. At those rates, it would be difficult for anyone to finance a car and try to raise themselves from the poverty threshold. It was for this reason that Alpharetta Rotary, in partnership with the Continuum of Care, has designed a pilot loan program for families who are residents of Continuum of Care Organizations to alleviate the interest rate cost to a more manageable 8%. This lower rate would save a family $1,600 during the life of a 4-year car loan of $6,000.
The recipients of the Affordable Loan Program would be referred to the Alpharetta Rotary Club via a non-profit member of the North Fulton Continuum of Care. Pre-qualification of the referral would be based on income, successful 6-month work history with the same employer, down payment, and successful completion of personal budgeting and finance classes. Alpharetta Rotary would “buy-down” the interest rate to a manageable 8% interest rate.
Kathy Swahn of The Drake House said, “The Rotary Club has partnered with us since our inception and we are blessed to have their continued support. The Auto Loan Program will truly change lives, giving autonomy to a single mother who is trying to balance her children’s needs with viable employment without a dependency on our limited public transportation. We look forward to piloting the program this year!”
In addition to the Auto Loan Assistance Program, the Alpharetta Rotary Club donated an additional of $23,000 to the following non-profits: $11,500 was raised in total for Habitat for Humanity which builds homes for people in need. Contributions toward that total came from the Alpharetta Rotary Club through a Matching Program and other Rotary Clubs such as Roswell, Sandy Springs South Forsyth and Lanier Forsyth; $4,000 was donated to The Drake House for the purchase of electrical and digital equipment for their new aftercare facility; $7,500 was donated to HomeStretch to help a family with items to fill their newly occupied home with furniture and housewares.
Alpharetta Rotary President, Jason Binder, said, “I am very proud of the Rotarians who make up our club. They have a passion to give back to others when they see a need in the community and this is a wonderful trait to have, therefore living the Rotary Motto of Service Above Self.”
Rotary Club of Alpharetta
The Alpharetta Rotary Club was chartered on March 23, 1983. Its membership is comprised of approximately 115 men and women representing a broad base of business and professional activities in our community. We are committed to making our community, both locally and worldwide, a better place for all of us to live. We meet every Friday morning at 7:15 AM for breakfast, fellowship and a program with speakers from the academic, business, professional, political and entertainment arenas of metro Atlanta. Visit us on the web at www.alpharettarotary.com