When Jill’s father’s health declined rapidly, he had to spend some time in a care home. “It was a really awful experience,” Jill recounts. “We knew we didn’t want to go that route.” But her parents’ home posed safety issues to both her father and her mother. Her dad could not use the inaccessible shower and her mom had difficulty with both the old, uneven carpets and the insufficient overhead lighting.
Jill’s partner, Ben, works as a social worker for people with developmental disabilities and had found Northwest Access Fund when a client of his needed funding for a home remodel. Jill and Ben weren’t sure if they would qualify for a loan, since they were not the homeowners and did not have other collateral. They had recently been denied a loan to purchase her parents’ house, because Jill had had to quit her job to take care of her parents and her daughter, who has significant barriers due to autism. Although she had recently started getting caregiver’s income for her parents, the income stream was too new for the bank to consider. Fortunately, Jill and Ben qualified for an Access Fund loan by including Jill’s parents on the application. “We had literally no other options,” she says.
Jill describes the Northwest Access Fund application process as “super easy,” and says their loan was approved within about a week. Jill explains that she has been doing advocacy work for her daughter for fourteen years and describes it as “really tiring. So, to have a process go smoothly, and to not have the headaches that come with a lot of loans is really nice.”
Once they received the funds, they remodeled the bathroom, replaced the carpet on the floors with tile, and rewired the house for improved lighting. They were very involved in the remodeling process, doing much of the demo work themselves in order to remodel the home more quickly and more affordably.
The home’s accessibility became especially necessary several months ago, after Jill’s mother fell and needed surgery on her foot. The hospital did not want to discharge her because they did not believe her home would be suitable for her. Jill says she was able to explain that the house had safe flooring, lighting, and a wheelchair accessible bathroom. “It was a huge difference in terms of advocating to bring her home,” Jill explains.
Jill describes the Access Fund as “a lifeline” that she would recommend to anyone in need of an assistive technology or home modification loan. The Access Fund “understands why someone needs the loan and is going to bend over backwards to try to get them what they need.”