A Center for Independent Living (or CIL) is a nonprofit organization that is designed and run by people with disabilities, with the goal of promoting independence and advocating for other people living with disabilities. They have community and advocacy at the core, and the majority of the board and staff members must be people living with disabilities.
The peer-run aspect of CILs makes them unique and impactful. CILs are built on the belief that everyone has a right to a self-directed life, should they want it, and every individual knows their own needs and what’s best for them. The focus is on us as a community and human connection. Rather than telling people what they should do, the goal is to walk alongside one another, offering resources for people who are creating the lives that they want and choose.
The nonprofit aspect means that services are offered at no cost to consumers, and are founded not for profit but to genuinely impact the people that receive them. Services include information and referral, skills training, peer counseling, advocacy, transition services, and much more!
There is a massive network of over 300 CILs in the United States at the moment. Montana currently has four CILs, one of which is Ability Montana (Ability Montana).