Vehicles for Change Moving to Halethorpe
The nonprofit group will occupy the former location of ABC Roofing on Washington Boulevard.
Vehicles for Change, a nonprofit group that allows people to donate cars to families in need, has acquired a building at 4111 Washington Blvd. and will move into its new location by May 15, according to the organization's executive director, Martin Schwartz.
Facing rising opposition from its neighbors in Relay, the group had planned to move over the Howard County line into Elkridge as recently as February.
The new location near Ridge Avenue in Halethorpe, previously home to ABC Roofing, has been vacant since December of 2011.
"This [property] became available, and we put in an offer," Schwartz said at a recent meeting of Arbutus Business and Professional Association.
Since 2006, Vehicles for Change has been located on the 5200 block of Washington Blvd., adjacent to the entrance to the Avalon area of Patapsco State Park.
Schwartz said the organization has moved four times in 13 years.
"We've always moved because we outgrew the location," he said. "I don't think we'll outgrow this one."
The new location has a 33,000 square-foot building and a fenced lot that will provide additional security for the organization.
Vehicles for Change refurbishes and sells cars to low-income families in order to overcome barriers to employment, selling them for an average of $700.
More than 3,000 cars have been awarded by Vehicles for Change since its founding in 1999, Schwartz said.
Vehicles for Change also sells used cars to the public, the proceeds from which are used to underwrite the charitable side of the operation, he said.
Within the next year, the organization will begin an automotive training program in collaboration with the Community College of Baltimore County.
"We're going to begin training auto mechanics, detailers, car sales people and sales people," Schwartz said.
The classroom portion of automotive training will be done by instructors at CCBC, with Vehicles for Change used for practical experience.
"They'll be working on cars donated to Vehicles for Change," Schwartz said. "We do tons of brakes and oil changes and tune-ups."