The Lift Garage is a nonprofit aimed to provide a vehicle to move people out of poverty and homelessness by offering low-cost car repair, free pre-purchase car inspections, and honest advice in order to support our community on the road to more secure lives.
The Lift Garage first started as an idea stemming from recognizing that transportation is a major stumbling block to getting and keeping employment. Balancing limited bus schedules and childcare, in some cases, people are unable to make it their jobs and/or important medical appointments when their vehicle is broken down. Without a way to make it to their job, people get fired and struggle to make the rent, all because they are unable to cover the unexpected great cost of car repair.
The 2014 Census showed that over 627,000 Minnesotans lived in poverty. According to a 2009 report from the Legislative Commission to End Poverty, one piece of the solution to ending poverty is to provide reliable transportation options that enable low income Minnesotans to get to their jobs. This includes expanding both car donation programs and programs that provide low cost car repair.
Cathy, our founder, went back to school at Dunwoody Institute to get her auto technology degree, in order to work on cars at a low cost. Our repairs generally only cost about 33% of a market rate car repair. In the beginning The Lift Garage was only open one day a week, with volunteer technicians repairing around four cars a month. With the help of committed board members, technicians, and donors, we have been able to expand to five days a week, three working lifts, two full-time and one part-time technicians, in just the two years since we’ve been open. We are now able to repair around 35-45 cars a month!
We are so grateful and humbled by all the support that we have received that has expanded our low-cost repairs for safe cars and secure lives!