The Economic Impact of ChangingGears

ChangingGears is a Cincinnati non-profit which empowers people who are working their way out of poverty and towards prosperity by providing affordable transportation solutions. Vehicles at ChangingGears are sold at half of fair market value to qualified individuals with a no-interest loan. ChangingGears operates in partnership with CityLink, which offers integrated social services to individuals below 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

The Economics Center performed an analysis for ChangingGears, sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, estimating the economic impact that ChangingGears provides to the Cincinnati Metropolitan Statistical Area, or MSA. The Economics Center examined offered programming and participant outcomes as measured by ChangingGears. Potential benefits to participants and their children were also estimated utilizing existing literature regarding the effects of vehicle ownership. Further, the Economics Center analyzed the economic and fiscal impacts from ChangingGears’ operations.

Car ownership is vital for job-seekers in Cincinnati: only 4.6 percent of Cincinnati jobs are accessible in 60 minutes using public transit, but more than 99.0 percent of Cincinnati jobs are accessible in 60 minutes using private transportation.

When individuals have access to a car, they are able to expand their job search to otherwise
inaccessible areas, which may increase their ability to gain employment or accept a job offering a higher wage and better hours than their current position, which could reduce job turnover.2 Subsidized car ownership programs, such as ChangingGears, have emerged in recent decades to address these challenges. These programs have been shown to confer a variety of benefits to their participants, including increased employment rates, higher wages, decreased public benefit reliance, improved credit scores, and greater community involvement.

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