What's an ILC?

Independent Living Centers (ILC's) are typically private community-based organizations. They are resources that provide a wide variety of services to help those with disabilities to achieve independence and self-reliance.

ILC's are "non-residential" facilities. ILC services are usually available on a walk- (or wheel-) in basis. Services may also be available online or by phone or FAX. Some centers also have TTY (TDD) capability.

The first Independent Living Center in the world began in Berkeley California in 1972. It was started by Ed Roberts, a post-polio respiratory quadriplegic who had been a student at the University of California, Berkeley.
(Photo Credit: Lydia Gans)

Ed Roberts (1939-1995) is generally regarded as the "Father" of the Independent Living Movement. He dedicated his entire adult life to organizing and helping others with disabilities achieve a greater degree of independence.

While most ILC's have non-profit status, and are funded by donations or grants, others are commercial businesses, deriving income from various products and/or services they provide to business, government, or the public.

BarrierFreeChoices operates in a similar manner. The Information Service we provide is available free to all people, disabled or otherwise; and is sustained by advertising revenues from enlightened retail merchants and professionals who value their disabled customers, patients or clients.

Most services provided to people with disabilities by ILC's are usually free, regardless of whether a particular ILC is commercial or non-profit.

Some ILC services may involve fees, so it's always a good idea to ask.

ILC's are also sometimes called CIL's (Centers for Independent Living).

Individual ILC's may be independent, or may belong to one or more of several statewide, regional, or national self-help organizations. Some are also affiliated with churches or government agencies. Our Information Service provides contact information for all of them (or as many as we can locate) regardless of their affiliation.

There are currently more than 600 ILC's in the United States.

[ More about Ed and Independent Living. ]

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