San Jose approves car program to help flood victims, donates 20 cars

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Late Tuesday, San Jose formally approved a program to get cars and trucks into the hands of people who lost their vehicle to flood waters in February. The program involves connecting donated cars with flood victims.

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To kick off the effort the City of San Jose made the first 20 donations. The mayor says it's a matter of people's livelihoods.

Jennifer Rascon evacuated her Rock Springs apartment on foot when the water started rising. She didn't have time to think about her car. Two weeks later she made a bittersweet discovery. "It was really nasty, but I noticed it turned it on," she said. "So that was a blessing."

She cleaned out the mold and mud and has been driving it despite the health concerns.

"I need it. You know, I go to San Jose State and I'm a student and I work, so it's a necessity," Rascon told ABC7 News.

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Rascon is one of hundreds of flood victims struggling with transportation following the flood.

City leaders announced a program that would help. "We are challenging our businesses. We are challenging our residents who have been very generous so far," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. "And we're grateful for their generosity, to come forward once again to help us with your vehicles.

Car donations go to Goodwill, then catholic charities will match vehicles with flood victims. There are at least 200 families in need.

"And I'd like everybody to know, your donation to Goodwill of a car is not a handout, it's a hand up," said Goodwill CEO Michael Fox.

In addition to the donations, the 61 dealerships that make up the Silicon Valley Auto Dealers Association have agreed to offer flood victims deep discounts on used cars and car repairs.

VIDEO: Aerial tour of flood damage in San Jose

Flood victims in need should call Catholic Charities at (408) 468-0100.
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