IATP AT loans change lives

IATP's AT loan program changes lives

IATP's AT loan program changes lives

Idaho Assistive Technology Project’s (IATP) goal is simple – to help Idahoans with disabilities acquire the assistive technology (AT) they need to live more independent lives. 

And while dedicated Project staff provide assessments, lending libraries, training and technical assistance, some people may still face barriers due to financial limitations. Fortunately, IATP also works to address these barriers.

The IATP Alternative Financing Program began in 1994 through a collaboration between the Project, KeyBank, Zions Bank and the Idaho Community Foundation. The program provides low interest financial loans to Idahoans with disabilities to purchase AT. 

IATP staff work with applicants, first looking for low- or no-cost options to get the AT they need. They then pursue a loan as a last resort option. This range of consumer choice offers financial assistance to people across the state. In many cases, it can be life changing. 

Two photos. On the left, Kade sits in his wheelchair in front of the van. He is looking at the camera and smiling. On the right, Kade is in his chair on the camp of the van. He is smiling broadly and laughing.

One such recipient was Kade, a 13-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy. His parents, Brett and Tosha, needed an accessible van with a lift to transport Kade to daily activities and medical appointments. Their old van was falling apart. With their son getting older, he was becoming too heavy to transfer into it. 

Their past payment history was great; however, Kade’s father had been unable to work for several months during the pandemic. The family fell behind on some bills. While he was able to get back to work and catch up on expenses, their credit score took a hit. 

“We had issues getting financial help. Wendy was able to get the bank to look deeper in our situation and persuade them to take us in,” said Brett and Tosha.

IATP staff helped the family with their search to find an affordable van, and the loan review committee voted to guarantee the loan.

“Being thankful would be an understatement for how our family feels at this moment. Kade has so many more opportunities now. Going from a transfer process to a van with a lift will affect his everyday life. Now traveling to out-of-state doctors with a vehicle meeting Kade’s needs won’t be so strenuous. Especially after surgeries … They [IATP] were able to give us the chance we desperately needed to better our son’s life.”

This is just one example of many. In fact, the IATP Alternative Financing Program has provided nearly $4 million to more than 950 applicants since its inception. More than 30% of those loans were to people who would not otherwise qualify for a standard bank loan.

Recipients who meet eligibility requirements (and who are unable to secure financial assistance through other funding sources) can apply to receive up to $10,000 to purchase AT including (but not limited to):

  • wheelchairs or motorized scooters
  • braille equipment
  • voice simulation systems or assistive listening devices
  • prostheses
  • vehicle or building modifications
  • recreation equipment and more.

With the ability to acquire the right AT, many people with disabilities experience a higher quality of life. It can provide the opportunity to live, work and play within their communities with greater independence. This is exactly what IATP works toward in every service they provide. 

You can find more information about the IATP Alternative Financing Program on the Project’s site. If you have any questions, please reach out to: 

Wendy Bonner
Email: wbonner@uidaho.edu
Phone: 208 885 6112