PHOTO: a picture of the ABILITY360 Center. The words "C-I-Ls: What Are They" are displayed below.

CILs – What are they?

LivAbility Magazine

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Education, employment, transportation, housing:

These are the most common areas of concern for people with disabilities. The barriers can seem insurmountable-enough to make one want to stay in bed and pull the covers up over your head. Those who seek to navigate the systems set in place to assist in solving these problems often find a complex, contradictory maze.

That’s where Centers for Independent Living (CILs) come into play. Yet this vital resource is often underutilized by people with disabilities. Many don’t even know CILs and their rich history and broad array of services exist. The first CIL was created by Ed Roberts in Berkeley, CA in 1972. He and other disability activists worked to create equal opportunities, self-determination, and model self-respect for people with disabilities well before the civil rights for people with disabilities were spelled out by the ADA some 18 years later.

INFOGRAPHIC: CILs offer 5 core services:  Information & Referral: connecting consumers to programs and services that help them live independently.   Peer Support: peer mentors share their own experiences and insights to help others develop new skills and solve problems. Independent Living Skills Training: CILs can help individuals learn daily living, attendant management, money management, pre-employment, how to utilize public transportation and other skills critical to independent living in one-on-one and group settings.  Advocacy: In addition to advocating for accessibility and disability rights on the state and national levels, CILs train people with disabilities about self-determination and to advocacy skills for themselves and others. Transition Services: helping consumers leave nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities for the least restrictive, community-based living arrangements; helping youth with disabilities transition to adulthood.INFOGRAPHIC: Economic Benefits: 74% of Arizonans with disabilities are unemployed, compared to 34% for those without disabilities. Thus, 21% of PWD live in poverty compared to 16% in the general population. Some CILs offer employment programs to help move people to employment. The State saves $18,103 annually for every person with a disability who CILs assist in avoiding institutionalization or nursing home placement through the provision of in-home community-based services and supports. (Community-based services are 21% - 29% less expensive than nursing homes.) Ability360 offers independent living skills training as well as home-based healthcare services to help PWD stay in the community.One study estimates four-year savings of nearly $60 million for a demonstration of 5,000 Medicare members by postponing or preventing institutionalization.