UpSHIFT helps those in need of new wheels to get back on their feet

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Affordable vehicles are hard to come by, especially for those in need of a car to help them get back on their feet.

Chris Erickson, director of Shift Garage, asks how we got to where we are at the moment.

“We drove, that’s what we do,” he says. “We don’t have to think about that often because for most of us, we have reliable transportation.”

He goes on to explain that, when most run into trouble, they simply go get the car fixed, and go on their way. But what happens if you couldn’t?

That’s where Shift Garage steps in, and they’ve added another tier to their program.

“We have a program where someone can work with Love INC and go through their process and they become eligible for one of our program vehicles. That is typically about $500. We really charge what it costs us to get the vehicle running again,” Erickson explains. 

Shift Garage’s new program, UpSHIFT, involves a partnership with Black Hills Federal Credit Union.

UpSHIFT is designed for someone that we consider so financially vulnerable, but they’re in a little bit better position. So they can maybe instead of using $500 to just buy a vehicle, they can put $500 to $800 down or maybe $1000 down to get themselves a nicer vehicle,” says Erickson.

In some cases, a past bankruptcy or financial struggle can prevent someone from getting the loan they need to buy a car to get to work or school, as Erickson explains.

It’s things like — well, I had had a repo in the past, I had a bankruptcy in the past, and so now a lot of the traditional dealerships here in town don’t want to work with me,” says Erickson.

Working with Shift Garage, Black Hills Federal Credit Union offers assistance in getting the loans and also provides financial education to those in the programs.

“Together, we’re trying to work with somebody to help them understand, okay, this is what this loan looks like. This is how it’s going to impact your budget,” Erickson adds.

If you’re not in need of a car but want to get rid of one, the vehicle can be donated to Shift Garage for a tax write-off equal to the value of the car.

We know that for every vehicle, there is a family that is just waiting to get their life started, and that could be how it happens,” says Erickson. “So you can make a huge difference in someone’s life by donating what you think is just a junk car.”

To get more information about Shift Garage, click here.

Categories: Local News