Royce Schultze outside of his accessible van. Sun is out. Ramp is extended and he is approaching the ramp.
Royce Schultze needs to get around.

He’s the boss at an organization that advocates for full inclusion of people with disabilities. He and the other employees at The Dakota Center for Independent Living collaborate, communicate, travel, meet, facilitate, and investigate across nearly half the state of North Dakota. 

I had a hard time tracking Royce down for an interview this week because things kept popping up. In an average week he may run back and forth to the capitol, see a number of clients and drive hundreds of miles to conduct complex evaluations to help people live independently at home.

It’s no surprise then, that Royce needs a reliable vehicle. “This is my livelihood,” Royce said. “I have to get to work, I have lots of training to do around town and around the state.” 

For Royce though, the ride doesn’t come cheap. He needs an accessible van because he uses a wheelchair full-time and new ones run almost $70,000. “To get payments where I need them to be through a bank I’d be getting an older van with more wear and tear,” Royce said. Considering how reliant he is on his vehicle, more wear and tear isn’t the best scenario.

So Royce turned to North Dakota Assistive’s Assistive Technology Financial Loan program. We were able to work with him on a payment plan that fits his ability to pay monthly. We can stretch out payments beyond the typical 60-months, working with clients so the payments fit within their budget.

“If I didn’t have it, the other option is transit,” Royce said. “With my position, transit is not feasible. I’d be looking at setting aside four hours for an hour-and-a-half meeting.”


Royce inside his van. The photograph is taken through the steering wheel. He is in the back of the van where he will begin to transfer to the diver's seat.
Royce recently paid off his second van through our ATFL loan. The first one got him through the mid-2000s. His latest loan was taken out in 2015. He found one pre-owned, but it only had 10,000 miles on it. New enough to be reliable, but at a price that was more affordable.

“It’s the social aspect too,” he said. “Vacations, visits, trips to the casino. I wouldn’t be able to do those things without it.”

Royce is one of more than 30 North Dakotans taking advantage of our ATFL program. And we’re available to assist more. For more information on the ATFL program, go to this link or give us a call at (800) 895-4728.

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