Center for Independent Living Core Services

As a Center for Independent Living, SCIL staff work to achieve positive change in the community, state, or nation for today and tomorrow through five core services. These five services represent the heart of the independent living philosophy with the concept of “consumer or client control” which guides the programs and services we offer consumers. Individual control means that people with disabilities know their own needs best and have the right to make decisions regarding their daily lives.

1. Individual and Systems Advocacy

SCIL provides training for people with disabilities to self-advocate for their own needs. In addition, staff advocate on local, state, and national levels for more effective legislation, programs and services, and increased accessibility for all people with disabilities.

  • Individual Advocacy 

Do you know your rights? The independent living philosophy promotes self-advocacy. Many individuals will have personal situations where advocacy is called for. At SCIL we teach the skills needed and provide the tools for individuals to become their own advocates. Let us assist you in understanding disability laws and effective ways to be a self-advocate when faced with obstacles or discrimination.

  • Systems Advocacy

Systems advocacy means focusing our center’s advocacy efforts on broad issues that will affect large numbers of people with disabilities, both in the present and in the future. SCIL participates in local, state, and national groups to promote legislation that will create equal opportunities for people with disabilities. We also examine policies, architectural environments, education and employment atmospheres for people with disabilities; and work to create effective changes where needed for full participation by individuals with disabilities.

  • Public Policy

SCIL advocates on public policy at the federal, state, and local levels with a focus to ensure that any policy created will support and protect individuals with disabilities and encourages a more inclusive society for all people. We work to engage community members and provide people with disabilities the tools to advocate for themselves and others.

2. Information and Referral

Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL) responds to thousands of requests for disability information and/or referral (I&R) each year. Available at no charge, I & R services answer questions relating to any disability issue for the disability community, the general public, businesses, media, and other organizations.  SCIL maintains a wealth of resources and staff can research a particular topic upon request or refer to appropriate agencies.

The center provides information on financial assistance, health care, housing, Medicaid, social security, transportation, and other resources to mention a few.

3. Peer Support

It often helps to talk with someone who also has a disability, especially one like yours. This is what Peer Support is about. The majority of the staff and board of directors at the Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL) has a disability. We also have trained volunteers with various disabilities that will visit with you about your feelings, concerns, and goals or just to share practical advice about living with a disability because they have experience with it.

4. Independent Living Skills Training

At SCIL, the person with a disability chooses his or her own goals, many of which may include learning new skills that will help achieve these goals. You can get assistance in learning a number of things that will help make it possible to live more independently. These skills might include learning how to set and achieve your goals, finding a place to live, how to look for a job, budgeting your money, understanding benefits, cooking simple meals, or developing increased self-confidence, to name a few.

5. Transitions

  1. Facilitate the transition of individuals with significant disabilities from nursing homes and other institutions to home and community-based residences, with the requisite supports and services.
  2. Provide assistance to individuals with significant disabilities who are at risk of entering institutions so that the individuals may remain in the community.
  3. Facilitate the transition of youth (including students) who are individuals with significant disabilities, who were eligible for individualized education programs under section 614(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1414(d)), and who have completed their secondary education or otherwise left school, to postsecondary life, including employment.