The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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April 18, 2013

'Cars for Homes' program benefits local Habitat

CLINTON – Most Americans probably would be surprised to discover what the most heavily recycled consumer product is: the automobile.

If you’re trying to decide what to do with an old junker, consider donating it to Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat’s national “Cars for Homes” program has created a win-win situation, with Habitat for Humanity able to accept donations of cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, RVs and other vehicles. The organization then sells the vehicles through automobile auctions, recyclers or salvage yards to raise money that helps in the construction of homes. Funds generated from the sale of the vehicles benefit the local Habitat where the donation is made.

“This program makes it much easier on both the donor and Clinton County Habitat for Humanity as the recipient,” said Anne Schmidt, board member. “Since Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit organization, it may be possible for donors to claim deductions on their income tax returns, if they itemize.”

The kicker is, “The tax deduction is often more than what they could sell the vehicle for,” Schmidt said, “and they know that their donation will go towards eliminating substandard housing in Clinton County.”

Though the program accepts almost all vehicles, even snowmobiles and trailers, boats and planes may require a call to see if they meet minimum criteria. The vehicle doesn’t even have to be running, but it must be “whole” and have four inflated tires so that it can be moved by the towing operators. All vehicle donations are processed as quickly as possible. Typically, the vehicle will be picked up within two or three days after the title is received in the processing center, and the donator can speed up the process by downloading documents online.

Most states require that the owner has a clear title to the vehicle, and some require a notarized signature. But Habitat will provide the necessary forms and will even help find a lost title.

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