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Centers for Independent Living

Centers for independent living (CILs) are also known as independent living centers. The researchers at the RTC/IL frequently collaborate with CILs to research new strategies for enhancing the independence of people with disabilities. Most major cities in the United States have a CIL.

CILs are non-residential resource centers on disability that are designed and operated by people with disabilities. By statute, 51% of the staff and 51% of members of the Board of Directors are persons with disabilities. CILs are:

  • Consumer-controlled
  • Community-based
  • Cross-disability
  • Non-profit

CILs provide a variety of services, with five core services:

  • Information and referral
  • Independent living skills training
  • Individual and systems advocacy
  • Peer counseling
  • Deinstitutionalization: Transition from nursing homes and other institutions to community-based residences; help with avoiding institutionalization 

CILs work to maximize accessibility and the integration and participation of people with disabilities in their communities. However, CILs serve the entire community, not just people with disabilities. For example, a local restaurant might seek information on or where to get menus brailled. A community group might ask for a referral for a sign language interpreter. A homeowner might inquire about how to make the home accessible so that a wheelchair-user might visit.

A directory of CILS and their satellites for each state and U.S. territory is available from ILRU.


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