Program drives electric vehicle accessibility

Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on antipoverty, established in 1965 to ensure federal and state dollars designated for anti-poverty work were invested in lower income communities of color in San Diego County. Now, headquartered in Chula Vista, MAAC has a budget of $60 million, nearly 500 employees, and has more than 30 sites across the region.

In MAAC’s part of its ongoing work for equitable access to clean transportation, it partnered with BQuest Foundation to offer nearly $2 million in low interest rate loans for the purchase of electric vehicles. The Electric Vehicle Access Program is promoting the adoption of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles in low to middle income communities, increase renewable energy usage and reduce carbon emission.

Eligible San Diego County residents who apply could receive up to $11,000 in grants and rebates. Poor credit is not a barrier, with the MAAC program providing access to loans with interest rates as low as 3.99-5.99%.

This program has 75 available slots in San Diego County, with an additional 75 slots in Central Valley, which will be processed on a first come, first-served basis. Applications are open now until December 1.

“We realized navigating the programs available to low-to-moderate income individuals and families can be complicated and a deterrent to them purchasing an EV. We partnered with MAAC to create an all-inclusive approach that tackles each barrier to EV adoption,” said Kara Ballester, president of BQuest Foundation in a press release. “Through this program participants will get individualized support and education all the way through the point of purchase.”

With the goal of ensuring equitable access for all communities, Beneficial State Foundation and Center for Sustainable Energy have also provided funding for this program and were also integral to shaping the program design. Flora Barron, MAAC director of Economic Development said much of what MAAC does is stabilizes families.

“My department’s objective is to help families thrive,” she said. “Hopefully, they are starting from a stable foundation and are able to grow from that. Whether it is furthering their income, financial assets, developing the financial or economic power of lower income households in communities.”

Barron said the story of this program dates back several years when the organization advocated for charging infrastructure in lower income communities. It was able to provide charging stations at its headquarters, its charter school in Chula Vista, and a few of its affordable housing properties.

“We observed that the charging infrastructure was underutilized,” she said. “Knowing that many of our tenants either do not have credit or might have lower credit we approached a private foundation to see it they would be interested in underwriting loans. They underwrote $2 million in loans, so last year we piloted a program that enabled people to access these loans. Even with credit scores as low as 550, they could still qualify.”

To learn more, find out if you are eligible and submit the interest form visit maacproject.org/ev-access/, call 619-426-3595 or email evaccess@maacproject. org.

Program drives electric vehicle accessibility

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