DULUTH, Minn. (3/5/09)--Northern Communities CU is helping people who are employed but struggling buy dependable used cars that won't saddle them with constant repair bills. Jump Start Duluth offers low-income families a low-interest, five-year loan for good used cars with low mileage (Duluth News Tribune Feb. 25). The $72.8 million asset credit union, based in Duluth, is working with Community Action Duluth on the program. Duluth resident Denise Lewis, who was approved for a loan in the program, told the newspaper that two years ago she scraped together $500 for a 1996 vehicle with nearly 200,000 miles on it, but shortly after she bought it, the transmission failed. Loan applicants must fill out a detailed budget to prove they can afford car payments, which typically run $100 to $200 a month. The program is for people who have jobs but need help in affording a good vehicle. The cars come from Ideal Auto, a nonprofit dealership in Glenwood City, Wis., which buys auction cars that have fewer than 55,000 miles and get at least 32 miles per gallon. The cars typically are sold for $7,000 to $8,000 to the program's participants. Participants deposit $20 a month into a savings account to cover oil changes, tires and repairs and they attend a financial education workshop and get an auto maintenance lesson from a local auto shop, said the newspaper.