Advocates Working Together

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When Emanuel needed a replacement for his wheelchair, and his insurance wasn’t addressing the urgency of needing an immediate replacement for his mobility device, he turned to getting a loan as his only option to obtain a wheelchair. This is how he connected with the network of California’s Advocates serving people’s needs for Assistive Technology across the state.

A masked man looking into the camera while sitting in an electric wheelchair, against the backdrop of the outside of a house. Text beneath the Where it's AT Blog logo reads: Advocates Working Together - Bringing the Community Together -

Emanuel called California Foundation for Independent Living Centers’ (CFILC) FreedomTech loan program to apply for a financial loan to purchase an interim wheelchair until his insurance replaced his long-term wheelchair. The FreedomTech loan program is a loan program that exists to provide low-interest financial loans to individuals with disabilities for the purchase of assistive technology related to their disability.

Kathrine, the FreedomTech staff member gathering Emanuel’s primary intake information, asked if Emmanuel had reached out to his local independent living center to see if they had a chair he could use. Emanuel explained that he had reached out to his local center, but that they didn’t have any chairs available. Kathrine asked if Emanuel would be comfortable with them reaching out to other centers near him regarding possible available chairs, in order to avoid taking out a loan unnecessarily. Emanuel agreed and the loan was put on hold.

A LiteRider Envy Electric wheelchair in an office filled with desks and cubicle dividers.

Kathrine reached out to a few centers in Emanuel’s area and found success when connecting with Sergio, the AT Advocate at Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF), one of six Independent Living Centers serving Los Angeles County. Sergio had recently gotten a donation of an electric wheelchair, however it needed it’s joystick replaced along with two batteries and he didn’t have the budget to perform the repairs. Kathrine connected Sergio with CFILC’s Keep the Wheels Rolling Repair Fund. The Keep the Wheels Rolling Repair Fund provides small grants of up to $450 to non-profit organizations for the purchase of parts and/or repairs needed to refurbish a wheelchair or scooter so it can be reassigned to a low-income Californian with a disability for free. 

Sergio applied and Phillip, a Keep the Wheels Rolling Fund Staff member was able to approve and process the grant for Sergio. With the secured funding, Sergio could purchase the necessary replacement parts for the wheelchair, make the needed repairs, and connect with Emanuel to provide the wheelchair at no cost.

Through California’s network of advocates across the state, Emanuel was able to get his much needed wheelchair, while avoiding loans and out of pocket expenses that were not feasible for his budget.

A masked man transferring from a manual wheelchair to an electric wheelchair, against the backdrop of the outside of a house.