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Independent Living

Introduction > History > What is a CIL? > Changing Attitudes

Introduction > Take the Test > Background > Standards


Objective: To learn what a center for independent living is and how it differs from other community programs.

There are many different types of organizations that serve people with disabilities: state vocational rehabilitation agencies, group homes, rehabilitation hospitals, senior centers, and home health agencies, to name a few. These organizations provide valuable services and are important links in the network of services that help people with disabilities maintain independent lifestyles.

What makes centers for independent living very different from these other organizations?

In a center for independent living, people with disabilities have substantial involvement in making policy decisions and delivering services.

Why this emphasis on control by people with disabilities? The basic idea behind independent living is that the ones who know best what services people with disabilities need in order to live independently are people with disabilities themselves.

Independent living centers are typically non-residential, private, non-profit, consumer-controlled, community-based organizations providing services and advocacy by and for persons with all types of disabilities. Their goal is to assist individuals with disabilities in achieving their maximum potential within their families and communities.

Advocacy Services

Independent living centers also serve as a strong advocacy voice on a wide range of national, state and local issues. They work to assure physical and programmatic access to housing, employment, transportation, communities, recreational facilities, and health and social issues. These are just a few of the services offered.

Other Centers in the United States

There are nearly 500 centers for independent living in the United States. Many are federally funded and some are state supported. Mountain State Centers for Independent Living (MTSTCIL) is funded with federal dollars and does not have any state support.

Is there a fee?

There is no charge for core services received at MTSTCIL. However, MTSTCIL, through its fundraising arm the Foundation for Independent Living, offers services at a fee for ADA Accessibility Compliance Services, Employment Services and other services. Learn more about the Foundation for Independent Living.

MTSTCIL's Mission and Vision Statement:

Next: What is a Center for Independent Living? - Take the Test

Mountain State Centers for Independent Living