Working with the community, the Center for Independent Living (CIL) promotes inclusion of people with disabilities by eliminating architectural, communication and attitudinal barriers and providing education, resources, and training to enhance self-determination through informed choice. Its serves seven counties in the Central Florida area: Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Hardee, Highlands, and DeSoto.
CIL works to improve the lives and maintain the dignity of people with any kind of disability regardless of demographics. Because every person is unique, CIL offers a variety of programs that help to stabilize and enhance the lives of the clients it serves. The Aspire to Hire program helps people with disabilities train, secure, and maintain gainful employment. StepAhead prepares young adults with disabilities for post-high school education or to enter the workforce. The DeafVoice program helps the Deaf Community communicate and navigate the challenges they face on a daily basis. Foundations to Freedom helps to ensure the independence and accessibility people need to remain their homes and access the community.
In the last year, CIL’s Foundations to Freedom program has provided the home modifications and adaptive equipment necessary for over 400 people to live safely and independently in their homes. “Each person who contacts CIL first speaks with one of our case managers to ensure all their needs are being met.” Says CIL’s Operations Director, Charlotte Merritt, “If they require accessibility services that CIL provides such as a home modification or assistive equipment, they are contacted by a member of the accessibility department to schedule an evaluation. Sometimes additional CIL services are required so the individual will be referred to another program within the agency for further assistance. If we cannot provide the necessary service, we connect the individual with a referral to another organization that better matches their need while following through to ensure the person receives the outcomes they want.”
Foundations to Freedom is CIL’s most requested program and at any given time, there are roughly 200 people on the waitlist for ramps, significant home modifications, and adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs, shower chairs, flashing doorbell ringers, and vibrating alarm clocks. As funding and equipment becomes available staff coordinate with clients to fulfill those requests. This year, CIL is working hard to reduce the size of the wait list in order to more immediately meet the needs of our community.
From projects large to small, Foundations to Freedom’s goal is to keep people with disabilities living safely and independently in their homes, and the ability to access and be a part of their community. If you or someone you know is in need of a home modification or adaptive equipment simply call the Center for Independent Living. CIL’s Foundations to Freedom team can be reached by phone at 407-623-1070 or online at www.cilorlando.org.