Joel Bokelman is President of ChangingGears, a CityLink partner organization that helps people solve their transportation needs through low-cost car purchasing programs.
Explain how ChangingGears helps people, and how it works with CityLink.
ChangingGears provides affordable vehicles for people that are working their way out of poverty by repairing donated vehicles and selling them to our clients at a fair price with a no-interest loan. We also offer our clients vehicle education, repairs and maintenance to make sure their vehicle remains a blessing rather than becoming a burden. ChangingGears fits toward the end of the CityLink process, so after a CityLink client has overcome the barriers of employment, financial education and others, they are ready to take on vehicle ownership and experience the benefits that come with private transportation.
Why did you commit to CityLink?
Whenever I read about the challenges facing so many people in this city, I’m always overwhelmed by size and complexity of this problem. And I’m convinced that a holistic care model like CityLink’s is the only sustainable solution. So joining CityLink is an awesome opportunity that allows us to focus on meeting transportation needs for our clients, and know they have a real chance to break the cycle of poverty because they are also working to overcome other barriers at the same time.
What’s something most people don’t know about people classified as “working poor?”
These people work hard, but other barriers in their lives such as transportation, education and childcare prevent them from being able to move from entry-level jobs that just don’t pay enough to support a family to higher paying jobs that bring them to economic self-sufficiency. (Here’s a PDF link to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Profile of the Working Poor,” a document that provides a detailed definition of the term “working poor.”)