Free vans for everyone

No, this is not a reality. Just a dream I have if I ever became President. Just think – a free adapted van for every person who needs one. No more sad folks stuck at home wishing of a life that’ll never be. With a van, jobs can finally start, parties can be attended, life can begin. A van truly is a dream-maker.

You know, I’ve been writing articles for people with disabilities for years now and one of the most frequent questions I get is where can they get a free van. They’ll take a discounted van too of course, anything, people just want to know where they can get help. There are thousands, maybe even millions of people in this same boat.

And the answer I give them? Resources are sparse, and between you and me, I think it’s a pretty sad thing. While accessible transportation and van services fill the gap, they’re not enough. People with disabilities live far and wide, in places where those services don’t reach sometimes. And where they do reach, they’re still not as flexible as they need to be. Scheduling running to the store for milk three days in advance….mmm not practical.

So I tell these folks other ideas. One of the most popular – throw a benefit. But benefits only work in a small close-knit community. If you live in a town where everyone knows you, this could be an awesome idea. Or maybe you’ve an active member at church. That might work. But let’s be honest, having any kind of benefit raise $40,000 is impossible now days. Maybe $15,000, but $40k? That’s a tall order.

Another method and one that worked for me was cobbling together help from various sources. I was able to get help from family, then the state helped pay for the conversion of my van and hand-controls. I got this all done in 2006; right on the cusp of the semi-Recession (or whatever you want to call it).

So what do wheelers desperately wanting a van do in 2013? Wait for a sugar mama or sugar daddy to drop in their laps? Make it big at the casino? Save like a good American? The good news is that there are still some exciting resources to look through – wheelchair van grants, medical grants by disability, disabled veteran grants and loans, church grants, and sometimes Medicare assistance has been known to still help out. Check out this look for a list of wheelchair van grants

It may seem like a dream that’ll never come true, but if you work your butt off, finding the funding for a van may just happen. Remember, if you do go that route, the grant process requires patience, for you to explain your case thoroughly, and be to very very organized (more tips here).

How did you pay for your van? What resources or advice do you have to share?

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