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KIDS Under Cover, the 30-year-old charity that identifies young people who are at risk of leaving home early and putting themselves at risk, is fast tracking its funding.

Through an online auction conducted by Manheim, it is putting up a brand new Ford Mustang Fastback GT 5.0 V8 — a car that is hard to get in current circumstances — that will raise much-needed funds to build shelter for youths.

Kids Under Cover (KUC) has for years accepted donations of cars to raise funds for its cause. But as KUC head of fundraising Adam Walsh told GoAutoNews Premium, the Mustang is the best donation to date.

“We are a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to preventing youth homelessness,” he said.

“We have, over the years, had more than 28,000 cars donated and the funds from those have gone to supporting more than 3200 young people through the construction of almost 600 studios and the awarding of more than 900 scholarships.”

KUC builds the one or two-bedroom studios in the backyard of the family or carer’s home, and young people move in there and it gives them safe, personal places to study, have a personal area and yet still gives access to the family home.

“It’s a practical solution for young people to help them stay at school while making them stay safe and close to family or friends,” he said.

“It also starts the transition for someone who plans to move into their own space.”

Ford Mustang

Mr Walsh said that on any given night, about 1000 young people in Victoria are living in a KUC studio. 

“We build around 50 to 100 studios a year. Each studio costs about $60,000-$80,000, so an average of $70,000, and they last an average of 20 years,” he said.

“They can be moved and we have some in place for 20 years and still going strong. The design has changed significantly over that time but they are more lifestyle centred and have things such as solar panels.”

KUC has programs to raise money and one of these has been accepting donations of cars which their owners may no longer be using.

“We pick it up and take it to our auction partner Manhim and they sell it for us. We receive the money and the donor receives a receipt for their donation,” Mr Walsh said.

“This started in 2000 in earnest and a few years later it exploded and in one year, we received about 6000 cars. We don’t get that many now, we get around 1500-2000 in a good year. 

“More recently, we have seen a big increase in the price we receive for these cars. The used car market is very strong; caused by factors including COVID which has played into our hands. 

“Every car that has been donated to us has been sold for good money. We receive all sorts of vehicles – we have had a Ferrari donated to us and we’ve also had completely unroadworthy scrap cars. They sell in very different ways.

RUC shelters offer secure and private space within the grounds of the family or caters’ homes (Image credit: Gallant Lee Photography)

“The most valuable car we have received via donation recently was a Mitsubishi 4WD which we sold for $39,000. That was an incredibly generous gift from the donor.”

Mr Walsh said that a few weeks ago he was contacted by a corporate partner who has asked to remain anonymous. 

“They came across a car through a raffle and they said they didn’t need the car and didn’t have a use for it so they gave us the brand new Mustang GT in racing red with the two white stripes with about 500km on the clock,” he said.

“For the successful bidder, it also comes with shipping anywhere in the country for free.”

“Whoever buys this car, every cent of that comes to us. The buyer will have a brand new sports car but will basically be funding a brand-new shelter for a young person. 

“If you were to buy this car brand new it’s around $64,000. I guess we’re looking for a generous car enthusiast who would pay the purchase price or even a bit extra.”

The auction opens on Monday November 22 at 10am and closes at 4pm on November 26.

By Neil Dowling

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