A Dallas nonprofit offers car repairs that would otherwise drive owners into debt : NPR

A Dallas nonprofit offers car repairs that would otherwise drive owners into debt : NPR

Vehicle difficulties can set off a fiscal crisis for lower-money persons. In Dallas, a little nonprofit is striving to assist, 1 car fix at a time.


Automobile repairs are never effortless, and for numerous people today they can also build a big economical predicament. In Dallas, reporter Christopher Connelly from member station KERA has the tale of a compact charity that fixes the cars that could usually drive their owners into personal debt.

CHRISTOPHER CONNELLY, BYLINE: About a 10 years in the past, Manuel Tellez’s truck was in pretty lousy form.

MANUEL TELLEZ: It was regularly overheating. It was just 1 thing right after an additional, and I did not have any revenue to get it repaired. So what I did is I went to a payday loan provider to just take out a loan.

CONNELLY: Tellez borrowed a small above $1,000, he claims. With charges and interest, he wound up paying out $7,000 back to the company. And creating all those payments at the payday lending shop, he recognized one thing.

TELLEZ: A whole lot of people would appear in to acquire out payday financial loans to pay back for an automobile repair. And that received me to considering, very well, is there any person or any firm in this article in North Texas that can assist individuals who have to have this type of enable? And it turned out, no, there actually is not.

CONNELLY: The concept lodged in his head for a long time, and by 2018, Tellez had shaped a new nonprofit. It really is named Autocare Haven, and the mission is basic – resolve motor vehicles for lower-revenue drivers who are not able to pay for repairs and can’t afford to pay for to have their car break down. In the Dallas-Fort Truly worth location, approximately 40% of households report owning problem paying out their common expenditures. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s hottest Residence Pulse Survey. And far more than a 3rd were struggling to fork out their rent or mortgage loan.

TELLEZ: What we are genuinely offering is hope mainly because when your motor vehicle goes down, specially if you never have the suggests, if you’re residing paycheck to paycheck, you happen to be generally just form of, you know, in despair.

CONNELLY: Autocare Haven is still a compact operation. Tellez runs it on prime of his comprehensive-time internet marketing task, and the team has had to convert off its on the web software portal from time to time due to the fact needs overwhelmed capability. But he’s hoping it’s going to increase in 2023.

(SOUNDBITE OF Motor vehicle Starting up)

CONNELLY: At a recent pop-up celebration in South Dallas, mechanics from Autocare Haven put in the working day topping off automotive fluids and supplying out assistance.

DARREN BROWN: You possibly have a little oil leak as effectively ’cause you received oil all about your motor.

CONNELLY: Mechanic Darren Brown states the charity won’t do cosmetic perform. It also will never rebuild engines or transmissions since it is really just also high priced and labor-intense. Other than that, they will tackle really a lot any issue.

BROWN: Autocare pays for the parts, pays for the labor, pays the mechanic. You never do almost nothing but sit back again and hold out for the automobile.

CONNELLY: And having your car or truck mounted for totally free to get you again on the road…

TIM HALE: It aids out a full good deal.

CONNELLY: Final calendar year, Tim Hale’s minivan necessary a new h2o pump. It was the latest in a string of mechanical issues on the pink 9-calendar year-outdated Toyota Sienna.

HALE: It was heading to value me yet another, like, thousand dollars to get the h2o pump carried out, and we just did not have it.

CONNELLY: Hale is on disability and is effective component time. His wife, Tamara, operates at a pharmacy, and she also drives for Uber, so owning the minivan out of fee meant they have been shedding profits. So when the few read about Autocare Haven from a mate, Hale applied.

HALE: It was a godsend that they arrive in and mounted it.

CONNELLY: Correcting a damaged drinking water pump would not repair a family’s economical struggles, but it can enable them steer obvious of an even even larger setback.

For NPR Information, I am Christopher Connelly in Dallas.

Copyright © 2023 NPR. All legal rights reserved. Go to our web-site phrases of use and permissions webpages at www.npr.org for further details.

NPR transcripts are established on a hurry deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content may possibly not be in its closing sort and could be up to date or revised in the foreseeable future. Accuracy and availability may well vary. The authoritative report of NPR’s programming is the audio document.