THE STORY OF OUR BEGINNINGS
Cathy Heying worked at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church from 1999 to 2008. During her work on the Pastoral Staff at St. Stephen’s, she found over and over again that transportation was a major stumbling block to getting and keeping employment. People were let go time and time again because their cars broke down and they could not get to work. Single moms struggled to balance bus schedules and childcare when their vehicles were not running. Without a job, there was no hope of keeping an apartment, and back everyone went to the shelter.
In Minnesota in 2007, a survey showed that over 482,000 people 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.
Always fond of 2 and 4-wheeled vehicles, Cathy wondered how she might make a difference with this specific stumbling block to ending homelessness. She returned to school, at the Dunwoody Institute, as one of a few women amidst the 18-year-old young men, and she earned her auto technology degree.
Meanwhile, as a great supporter, St. Stephen’s Human Services ( Cathy’s employer), graciously designated hours for Cathy to do research about the best way to structure the garage.
Along the way, a board of directors formed to follow the vision: Isaac Wengerd (Chair), Atom Robinson (Vice Chair), Becca Tumm (Secretary), Kira Vanderwert (Treasurer), Michael Culliton, Dave DuVal, Marie (Reigstad) Ellis, Robert Fischer, Dave Isle, and Anne Quincy. We are teachers, mechanics, workers in the non-profit world, lawyers, accountants, people who have struggled with financial survival and homelessness, and all of us, human beings committed to creating a Minnesota where poverty is no longer an issue.
Gradually, we’ve take more steps: the vision has a name: The Lift Garage. We have acquired state non-profit status, we are now an independent 501-c3, a business plan is in place, and we are contantly raising funds to fill our bank account for operating costs.
Our most exciting news:
We are leasing space from Dan’s Nicollet Car Wash, 5925 Nicollet Avenue S, Minneapolis MN 55419 and are open Wednesday to Saturday from 9-5! Customers can be referred to us through their case worker or by providing us with income verification.
Will you be part of our story? Visit our volunteer and donation pages to join us!