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THE huge rise in used car prices is not only providing sales margins not seen for decades in car dealerships, it has reached down to the lowest-priced segment of the used car market and boosted the coffers of the charity Kids Under Cover.

Kids Under Cover benefits from donations of cars from car dealers, among others, which are sold at Manheim Auctions. The proceeds go to provide scholarships or to build studios to house young people at risk of becoming homeless.

By regularly donating unwanted cars to Kids Under Cover’s Donate Your Car Program, car dealers across Australia have proven to be strong supporters of the initiative.

Kids Under Cover was started by Melbourne motor retailing identity Ken Morgan in 1989, initially to raise funds to provide housing for homeless young mothers.

These days the Victorian-based Kids Under Cover provides studios for young people who are at risk of becoming homeless because they are living in overcrowded households or households where tensions can run high.

Donate Your Car has been operating since 2006

The studios are built in the backyards of houses where problems exist to give at-risk young people their own space. The one- or two-bedroom flat-pack studios cost between $60,000 and $70,000 to assemble with utilities connected. When studios are no longer needed by the family they are packed up and re-erected at another house.

One unforeseen but fortuitous side effect of the current new and used vehicle shortage has seen realised auction prices from cars donated increase by as much as 70 per cent in the 12 months to June this year.

Under the scheme, cars donated are at, or close to, the end of their life and normally bring hundreds rather than thousands of dollars. But Kids Under Cover has been able to report that between FY19 and FY20 the average price achieved rose from $541 to $796 and in FY21 it reached $1368.

Over the years, Kids Under Cover has collected and sold more than 20,000 cars through Manheim Auctions.

There are more than 630 Kids Under Cover studios on the ground, and last year alone Kids Under Cover helped more than 1,789 young people and awarded over 500 scholarships.

The head of fundraising at Kids Under Cover, Adam Walsh, told GoAutoNews Premium: “What this has meant for Kids Under Cover is that for each car we receive, we now have far more which can be put straight towards our programs to build studios and provide scholarships for young people who are at risk of becoming homeless.

“Not only this, but we are seeing that more of our generous car donors are going on to do more for us in the future – including becoming regular donors and giving to our appeals.

“So you can see the importance of our Donate Your Car program when it comes to helping young people stay at home and in school,” Mr Walsh said.

Kids Under Cover conveniently picks up cars from all sources including private owners and companies other than car retailers. The vehicle does not have to be running but there are some minimum standards.

HHMC Morwell Studio

The value the car achieves at auction is tax-deductible to the donor.

The need for scholarships and studios is currently well ahead of the ability of Kids Under Cover to fund them.

Manheim has partnered with Kids Under Cover since 2006 and has been an integral component of the growth and the success of the Donate Your Car program.

When Manheim expanded its early support to allow all Manheim locations to receive and sell donated cars it was key to KUC going national with the program. Manheim provides its services at no cost and organises transport, all logistics and the sale of the vehicles.

GoAuto readers can donate any unwanted cars by filling out their details on the Kids Under Cover website.

By John Mellor

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