Program to Help Families Get in the Driver's Seat is Going away

A program that annually helped nearly 1,000 low income families in Western New York has ended.

Its called "Ways to Work", and it provided low-interest car loans and credit counseling for people who had no where else to turn.

The program is disappearing after 12 years in Rochester, at a time when many people have problems getting jobs, getting credit and making big purchases like a reliable car.

The program was run in Rochester by Catholic Family Center, and was funded by both the national Ways to Work program and the state.

The state began pulling out funding last year, and the charity has now decided to stop accepting new applications.

The supervisor of the program says its a loss for the community, especially for those hoping to repair their finances, set a budget and get back on their feet.

Ben Murphy is Director of Workforce Development at Catholic Family Center. He said

"The services I oversee at Catholic Family center are all about getting folks into work and stable, what they need to go and live their lives and not need us anymore to be successful...We've had clients come back and say 'I was in your program 3 years ago and now I went and got my first house', and we're not gonna see that now. So it's just hard".

While Murphy says "Ways to Work" is going away, the center still offers several other credit counseling programs.

The national Ways to Work office tells me their programs in Buffalo and Albany are actually expanding.

A majority of their funding comes from private donors, not the state.

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