Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation Celebrates Its Successes in 2018 and Releases its 2018-2019 Annual Report that Outlines the Organization’s Latest Accomplishments, Including the Publication of Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania.
Harrisburg (June 3, 2019)– The latest accomplishments of Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) were highlighted at a press conference held today at the Capitol Rotunda at 10:30 a.m., hosted by Nancy Murray, President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh/ACHIEVA and the in-coming Board President of PATF, and Susan Tachau, Chief Executive Officer of PATF.
PATF continues to achieve outstanding results for individuals with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians, helping them purchase the assistive technology (AT) devices and services they need. The program leverages a small amount of public funding into a large number of loans that strengthen our communities. In addition, the repayment of loans from past borrowers provides funding for future borrowers. Remarkably, even though PATF makes many non-traditional loans, its loan loss rate for the last year is only 2.1%, which is better than the industry nonperformance average.
Through loans valued at more than $36M ($1.5M in 2018) and with over 14,000 Pennsylvanians helped since its founding in 1998, PATF is the only Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in Pennsylvania that extends consumer loans to individuals with disabilities and their families.
At today’s press conference, PATF released its 2018-2019 Annual Report, demonstrating a continued demand for its financial products. The Report highlights the following noteworthy statistics for 2018-19:
- 278 no-interest or low-interest consumer loans were extended worth $1.5M.
- More than 1,178 people were helped through Information & Assistance (I&A) services.
- 122 trainings were conducted about financial education, funding resources and assistive technology.
Nancy Murray spoke about the importance of helping people with disabilities and family members navigate the complexities of financing their AT needs. She urged everyone to pick up a copy of PATF’s new, comprehensive book, Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania. Published in April, 454 people have already downloaded the book from PATF’s website, www.patf.us.
Susan Tachau thanked Governor Wolf and the General Assembly for their long-standing support of PATF. She stated, “We are so grateful to the Governor and our elected officials for making it possible for PATF to help Pennsylvanians with disabilities of all ages and incomes help themselves. Most of our borrowers do not have access to conventional lending markets-and therefore, do not have access to the capital that’s needed to purchase assistive technology. We remain committed to creating programs that are meaningful and respond to our ever-changing world of technology.”
Pennsylvania policymakers spoke about their continued commitment to provide essential public and private funding for the program. Speakers included:
- Senators Camera Bartolotta, Bob Mensch, and Christine Tartaglione; and
- Representatives Sheryl Delozier, Patty Kim, Brandon Markosek, and Melissa Shusterman.
Additional speakers included:
- Ms. D.J. Stemmler, PATF borrower featured in the 2018-2019 Annual Report, stated “PATF was willing to fund the van and the adaptive equipment-something most commercial banks won’t do. Without this loan, I wouldn’t have been able to continue to work.”
- David Gates, Esq., Senior Attorney, PA Health Law Project and PATF Board member, who discussed the importance of integrating financial education into community programming and he encouraged attendance at PATF’s upcoming conference, Vision for the Future: Financial Empowerment for Individuals with Disabilities on October 3, 2019 at the Keystone Building, Harrisburg.
- Matthew Seeley, Esq., Executive Director, PA Statewide Independent Living Council, who discussed blending PATF funding with PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) funds for the purchase of his van so that he could work and be active in the community.
- Abbie Spackman and Kendra Martin, PA AgrAbility Project, who talked about PA’s AgrAbility Program, a program that helps farmers with disabilities remain in production agriculture, and their collaboration with PATF.
Nancy Murray closed the press conference by announcing that PATF was honored to be included again in the Governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 in a line item called Assistive Technology Financing (or Devices), within the Department of Labor & Industry. The appropriation supports PATF’s operations on behalf of people with disabilities of all ages and incomes throughout the Commonwealth. PATF is advocating for an increase of $50,000 (total of $500,000) to support the costs associated with outreach and underwriting new loan applications and providing financial education trainings and one-on-one coaching.
SOURCE: news release