Life and Independence for Today A Center for Independent Living

503 E. Arch Street

St. Marys, PA 15857

lift@liftcil.org

(814)781-3050

(800)341-LIFT

Frequently Asked Questions What is a Center for Independent Living? Centers for Independent Living were created by Congress in the Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act of 1963. A CIL is a non-residential, non-profit, community based, consumer controlled, cross-disability agency providing four core services. These are: Advocacy, Independent Living Skills, Information and Referral and Peer Support. Today, more than 400 CILs exist throughout the country. In addition, CILs offer a number of other services, generally depending on specific needs of their consumers. Life and Independence for Today provides these core services along with Assistive Technology assistance, Peer Based Transition Support Services, Nursing Home Transition and an Equipment Reuse program. How does a CIL differ from other service organizations? Centers for Independent Living are unique in that they are governed, managed and staffed by a majority of people with a variety of disabilities. This is described as "consumer control", a basic premise of independent living. Unlike other service providers, we are who we serve; we share the same interests and concerns as those we serve; and we are also directly and personally affected by the systems and services we seek to change and improve. CILs have a majority of people with disabilities on their governing boards and they hire qualified people with disabilities to fill management and service delivery positions, based on the idea that people with disabilities are in the best position to understand what services are needed, and how to assist and advocate in the independent living process. CILs utilize the term "consumer", rather than "client" or "patient", in order to denote this peer relationship. What is a disability? A disability is a permanent physical, cognitive, sensory of psychological impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include caring for one's self, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, performing manual tasks and learning. What determines eligibility for LIFT services? Consumers are eligible for core services based on self identification of their disability. Some auxiliary services may require additional documentation at the request of the particular funding source. How does LIFT assist people? The foundation of CIL services is the peer relationship - people with disabilities assisting others with disabilities as role models, mentors, and partners. Our core services are available to all of our consumers and include: Information and Referral, Peer Support, Individual and Community Advocacy, and Independent Living Skills Training. Simply call us and we will do everything in our power to assist or direct you to the proper place to get assistance. All of our programs are designed to promote independence. Does LIFT only serve individuals in wheelchairs? No. LIFT provides all of its services to any individual with a disability. It also provides resources to families and friends of individuals with disabilities, the businesses that serve individuals with disabilities and anyone with an interest in learning more about the disability community. Does LIFT help with Transportation? We can assist eligible consumers to access available transportation services. LIFT is not a funding source, and we cannot transport people. Does LIFT provide or pay for housing? As a Center for Independent Living, LIFT is nonresidential and does not provide housing. We can provide information and assistance with applying for housing options. We can also provide information on available funding sources, as we are not a funding source. What is the independent living philosophy? People, regardless of ability, should have choice and control of decisions affecting their lives and to live in their own homes. People should have freedom of choice over their personal care, participation in society, and preferences in how to live. In what ways do you advocate for persons with disabilities? LIFT promotes compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other legislation. This includes, but is not limited to, accessibility in public and private buildings, accessible transportation systems, accessible affordable housing, and equal opportunity for employment. How is LIFT funded? The 1978 Rehabilitation Act included funding for independent living and the establishment of Centers for Independent Living. LIFT receives these monies through the state every year. We also hold fund raisers and apply for grants for additional funding. How can I get involved? We encourage everyone to join us. If you believe you or a loved one is in need of information or support, contact us to learn about your rights and responsibilities as well as what resources are available to you. If you would like to contribute to our mission and services, your money donations are tax deductible. If you would like to volunteer, contact our office for available projects to be involved in.
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