Indiana Centers for Independent LivingContributed by: Marci Wheeler, M.S.W.
What are Independent Living Centers?
Independent Living Centers are not-for-profit organizations that operate under the Indiana Family Social Services Agency (FSSA) and the Division of Disabilities and Rehabilitation Services (DDRS). They are agencies that are consumer controlled, community-based, cross-disability and non-residential.
In the state of Indiana, there are currently eight Independent Living Centers. These Centers cover multiple counties in their regions. Approximately fifty-six of Indiana’s ninety-two counties are served. The Independent Living Centers have specific criteria they must meet to qualify as a Center under federal guidelines. The current agencies operating under these guidelines are listed at the end of this article.
The Centers provide services to persons with disabilities regardless of age or type of disability. Independent Living Centers are federally mandated to: promote a philosophy of independent living, including a philosophy of consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and individual and system advocacy, in order to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities, and the integration and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American society (Title VII, 2003).
In general, the Centers are funding sources and program developers, not direct service agencies. However, services provided by each agency may differ depending on funding allocated.
The Centers are governed by a board of directors, of which the majority are persons with disabilities. Staff and decision makers for the Centers also include persons with disabilities
Although the Centers for Independent Living are funded through state and national programs, these funds provide only basic needs for the agencies. Many rural and small areas have only one full-time staff member and perhaps a small office within an entire region. Although there are coordinators assigned to each of the counties in those regions, many times these are only part-time positions. Other more urban areas may employ more staff as they have a larger population to serve, and may have access to more funding.
Much of the additional funding comes through grants. Grant money can come from various agencies. Some grant money that has supported Independent Living Centers comes through the Department of Education, the Governor’s Planning Council, Vocational Rehabilitation, Area Agencies on Aging, and other groups. Grants are usually for specific projects and may be for only a designated time period, or to accomplish a single goal. Sometimes these projects develop into new programming and funding is found to support the new program from other sources.
The national and state requirements for Independent Living Centers mandate four categories of services that must be offered to meet their criteria. Each of the centers will, therefore, have these core services:
Information and Referral: Provide current information on local, state, and federal disability issues and resources; refer persons with disabilities to other organizations for further assistance.
Independent Living Skills Training: Promote training on kitchen skills, good nutrition, household management, self-care, interpersonal skills, managing personal finances, mobility/travel skills, household maintenance, personal growth, recreation, and exercising consumer rights. Personal care assist training is also promoted.
Peer Counseling: Provide counseling by individuals with experience, knowledge, and skills who have similar disabilities. Strive to maximize leadership, empowerment, independence and productivity of individuals with similar disabilities.
Advocacy: Promote a policy for providing self-help and self-advocacy among individuals with significant disabilities.
Under these four categories of services, a diverse number of programs may be offered. Examples of programs currently offered in some areas are:
Educational programming: Supporting a variety of outreach activities in the community, including outreach to school systems and other organizations.
Recreational programs: Promoting accessible activities and programs, including monitoring state or federally sponsored programs for compliance with guidelines.
Transportation: Promoting programs that are accessible and accommodate persons with disabilities.
Housing: Conducting awareness programs for realtors and contractors regarding accessible housing and increasing the number of accessible housing units for persons with disabilities.
Support Groups: Assisting persons with disabilities, their families and friends, in finding others with similar interests and ideas and helping to support the group’s interests and focus such as socialization or mobilization. These groups can have very diverse members.
Youth Services: Supporting integration of individuals into age appropriate programs that exist in the community.
Vision and Mobility Services: Assisting persons with visual impairments to locate services, obtain visual supports, and integrate into the community.
Referral Services: Providing information, referral and support to persons in need of services and adaptive devices
Community Centers: Drop in centers where persons with disabilities can meet others, exchange ideas and hang with friends.
Aging Programs: Assisting in finding appropriate programs for aging persons with disabilities including home-based services in order to maintain independence in the community and in their own homes.
Independent Living Centers – Programs in IndianaaccessABILITY Center for Independent Living, Inc.
(Formerly known as IRCIL- The Indianapolis Resource Center for Independent Living, Inc.)
5032 East Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46219
(317) 926-1660 (phone)
(317) 926-1687 (fax)
(866) 794-7245 (toll free)
Counties served: Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Marion, Hancock, Morgan, Johnson, Shelby, Owen, and Bartholomew
Assistive Technology Training and Information Center (ATTIC)
1721 Washington Avenue
Vincennes, IN 47591
(812) 886-0575 (voice)
(812) 886-1128 (fax)
(877) 962-8842 (toll free)
Counties served: Sullivan, Greene, Knox, Daviess, Martin, Gibson, Pike, Dubois
Everybody Counts Center for Independent Living
9111 Broadway, Suite A
Merrillville, IN 46410
(219) 769-5055 (office)
(219) 769-5325 (fax)
(219) 756-3323 (TTY/VP)
(888) 769-3636 (toll free)
Counties served: Lake, Porter
Future Choices, Inc.
309 N. High Street
Muncie, IN 47305
(765) 741-8332 (office)
(765) 741-8333 (fax)
(866) 741-3444 (toll free)
Counties served: Howard, Grant, Black ford, Madison, Delaware, Randolph
Independent Living Center of Eastern Indiana (ILCEIN)
1818 West Main Street
Richmond, IN 47374
(765) 939-9226 (office)
(765) 935-2215 (fax)
(877) 939-9226 (toll free)
Counties served: Henry, Wayne, Rush, Fayette, Union, Decatur, Franklin
League for the Blind and Disabled (also known as The League)
5821 S. Anthony Wayne Boulevard
Fort Wayne, IN 46816
(260) 441-0551 (office V/TTY)
(260) 441-7760 (fax)
(260) 440-3013 (video phone)
(260) 481-8153 (DeafLink emergency pager)
(800) 889-3443 (toll free V/TTY)
Counties served: Lagrange, Steuben, Noble, Dekalb, Whitely, Allen, Huntington, Wells, Adams, Jay, Kosciusko
839 South Adams Street
Versailles, IN 47043
(812) 689-3753 or (866) 689-3753
TTY: (812) 689-3753
Counties served: Jefferson, Jennings, Ripley, Ohio, Dearborn, Scott, Switzerland
Southern Indiana Center for Independent Living (SICIL)
P.O. Box 308
Mitchell, IN 47446
(812) 277-9626 (voice)
(812) 277-9628 (fax)
(800) 845-6914 (toll free)
Counties served: Monroe, Lawrence, Jackson, Orange, Washington, Bartholomew, Brown
Wabash Independent Living & Learning Center, Inc. (WILL Center)
1 Dreiser Square
Terre Haute, IN 47807
(812) 298-9455 (office)
(812) 299-9061 (fax)
(877) 915-9455 (toll free/TTY)
Counties served: Parke, Putnam, Vigo, Clay, Vermillion. In addition serves Visually Impaired/Over 55 Program in Daviess, Greene, Gibson, Knox, Pike, Sullivan.
If there is no Center serving the county in which you reside, you could contact a Center in an adjoining county. Staff can sometimes offer assistance and/or suggest other resources. The Indiana Council on Independent Living may also be contacted for assistance in locating the services of a local Center:
Indiana Council on Independent Living (ICOIL)
c/o DDARS/VRS MS20
402 W. Washington St., Rm. W453
P.O. Box 7083
Indianapolis, IN 46207-7083
(317) 232-1303 (V/TTY)
(317) 232-6478 (FAX)
Everybody Counts Center for Independent Living: www.everybodycounts.org
Independent Living USA: www.ilusa.com/.
Independent Lifestyle; SICIL, 2006. Southern Indiana Center for Independent Living Newsletter.
Indiana Council on Independent Living: http://icoil.org
Title VII: Independent Living Services and Centers for Independent Living. Rehabilitation Act of 1973:www.access-board.gov/enforcement/Rehab-Act-text/title7.htm.
Wheeler, M. (2010). Indiana centers for independent living, Bloomington, IN: Indiana Resource Center for Autism.