Get rolling: New Hampshire program helps working poor buy cars

Sometimes, all you need is a little push.

Besides housing, the biggest drain on finances for many working poor and middle-class folks is an aging car. The nickel-and-diming a junker demands will bust any budget. And random breakdowns can sabotage efforts to hold down a regular job. Lots of people got into more car than they could afford, back when they were practically giving away loans.

A program in New Hampshire is trying to change that, one vehicle at a time. Bonnie Car Loans and counseling, known as Bonnie CLAC, is loosely modeled after Fannie Mae (under its original mandate). Its aims to help low- to moderate-income workers take charge of their finances with the ultimate goal of buying a new car. The program acts as the middleman in the transaction and negotiates with car dealerships and banks for discount rates. It also guarantees the loan.