A 2019 study published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research examined how vehicle ownership and income are directly related to poverty, coining the term, “Poverty of the Carless.”

During the past 60 years, the study indicated all advances in society in the U.S. have been made on the premise of universal private vehicle access, leaving those households without access in poverty, with dependence, unemployment and food deserts, in many areas, symptoms of this problem.

DriveItAway is trying to be part of the elixir to solve the problem completely, as the digital platform with a rent-to-own dealer sales technology package has pledged support with its people and program to the newly created nonprofit Drive For Freedom Foundation.

The foundation’s mission is to end the cycle of poverty and dependence that no vehicle access creates in many areas of the United States — to eliminate the “Poverty of the Carless.”

“While the highly educated and economic advantaged have advocated for a car ownership free future in many cities, various independent studies have all shown that, in the here and now, for low-income families, the single biggest ‘driver’ of economic opportunity and growth is access to private transportation,” DriveItAway chief executive officer John Possumato said in a news release.

In 2014, the Urban Institute published a study titled, “Driving Opportunity,” detailing the same conclusion as what was in the Journal of Planning Education and Research.

The Urban Institute discovered that low-income residents in high-poverty neighborhoods who owned their own cars were twice as likely to find a job and four times as likely to remain employed, and, ultimately, much more likely to seek out and move to better neighborhoods, out of poverty — finding car access “indispensable for families seeking safety and economic security.”

“We have seen, firsthand, that the recent explosion of the demand for gig drivers, that has made vehicle ownership an even more immediate benefit, making any vehicle, for the first time, an ‘income-producing asset,’” Possumato said. “It is ironic that we have found that in other countries, automotive industry participants have recognized this, and created nonprofit institutions to get vehicles into the hands of those who need them most to take advantage of this opportunity, but not in the U.S., until Drive For Freedom was created, so we immediately jumped on board to support the initiative, as we are sure many more in our business will as well.

“As a technology company, we are proud to be able to support and help Drive For Freedom any way we can, new technologies can and should be made available from all sectors to mission-driven nonprofits like Drive For Freedom to help scale a program that can do the most good for the most people,” he continued.

“But technology is only one small piece for positive change here, it is my sincerest wish that all automotive sectors, OEMs (ICE & EV), vendors, auctions and dealers, enter into this effort to put a huge dent in the ‘Poverty of the Carless.’ After all, cars are our business and helping people with them is our focus,” Possumato went on to say.

Allen Bryant, chairman of the board of trustees of the Drive For Freedom Foundation, shared what it means to have support from DriveItAway.

“The Drive For Freedom Foundation intends to take a rapid and scaled approach to eliminate the ‘Poverty of the Carless’ and enable significant and meaningful change for the many impacted by this issue,” Bryant said.

“We look forward to working with DriveItAway and many other mission-driven automotive industry players as we all work to get people out of poverty, with access to cars, jobs and a better quality of life,” he added.