BENEFITING: Micro Grants
Many low-income Minnesotans are forced to rely on older, inexpensive cars. The cost of a ticket for an equipment violation and the bill for repairing auto lights can easily top $200. For people struggling to make ends meet, a few hundred dollars can undermine their fragile economic security. A broken taillight or turn signal can mean choosing between a minor auto repair and buying groceries for their family. It also can be the beginning of a downward economic spiral that for some winds up in multiple tickets, confrontations with police and sometimes leading to the impoundment of their vehicle.
Lights On! pays for minor auto repairs
Through the Lights On! program, police officers stopping cars for lights equipment violations (broken headlight, tail light, brake light or turn signal) can offer a solution to those who can’t afford repairs. While officers may still issue a citation for the equipment violation, the police also can provide drivers with Lights On! vouchers redeemable for free repairs of broken lights at partnered auto shops.
Stopping the Downward Spiral
Through Lights On!, the first-of-its-kind program, people will be able to fix broken lights on their cars before multiple tickets create a financial catastrophe.
The program also is an opportunity to build goodwill between police departments and the communities they serve. Patrol officers are empowered by Lights On! to have conversations with people they stop for lights violations. We believe that this will be a positive conversation between the officer and the driver, explaining the program. If the person can’t afford repairs, the officer has a solution.
Lights On! is a program created by MicroGrants, and run jointly with many police departments across Minnesota, and with the good will of many auto shops. Now, when a car is pulled over for a lights violation, law enforcement can give out a voucher to get the car lights fixed for free at any partnered auto shop, and MicroGrants foots the bill.
Help us foot the bill. Please donate!
Lights On! is a community-driven solution. MicroGrants is financing the repairs with support from partnering auto shops. We are hopeful that people in Minnesota will see that value of a program that is helping people in need and making our streets safer WITHOUT waiting for a government program. We hope we can extend the program to more communities, but to do so, we need the support of donors.
Police departments are very enthusiastic about the program. Functioning lights are an important public safety issue, but police also recognize the financial burden that repairs and multiple tickets for equipment violations can put on people living in poverty. The voucher program not only helps mitigate economic hardship, it also can improve relations between police and the public, especially low-income Minnesotans and communities of color.
“Having dependable transportation is pivotal to moving out of poverty. Service vouchers are a simple solution that give people the opportunity to maintain steady transportation so they’re able to stay employed, stay afloat and stay connected to their community.” - Don Samuels, MicroGrants CEO
MicroGrants is a Minnesota non-profit that works with partner agencies to promote and support economic self-sufficiency through strategic grants to low-income people of potential.
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Participating Police Departments:Brooklyn Center Brooklyn Park Bloomington Columbia Heights Crystal Edina Hopkins Maplewood Mendota Heights Minneapolis Moundsview New Hope Oakdale Richfield Robbinsdale Roseville Saint Louis Park Saint Paul South Saint Paul Spring Lake Park