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Centers for Independent Living (CILs)

What is a Center for Independent Living (CIL)?


What is a Center for Independent Living? Centers for Independent Living, often referred to as "CILs" are non-residential places of action and coalition, where persons with disabilities learn empowerment and develop the skills necessary to make lifestyle choices. Centers provide services and advocacy to promote the leadership, independence, and productivity of people with disabilities. Centers work with both individuals as well as with the local communities to remove barriers to independence and ensuring equality of persons with disabilities.


How are Centers for Independent Living funded?


Centers are non-profit organizations, which are funded by state, federal, local and private dollars. Part C of Title VII of the Federal Rehabilitation Act provides general operations money for CILs in Virginia in the amount of over $1.5 million dollars. Additional funds under Title VII, Part B of the Act are granted to Centers under the State Plan for Independent Living. The Plan, which is jointly developed and signed by the Statewide Independent Living Council, the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services and Department of the Blind and Vision Impaired, provides Part B funds to Centers for systems change activities in the amount of over $475,000. General fund dollars for Center operations and Youth Transition Services currently exceed $5 million dollars. A portion of the State General Fund dollars were used to expand Centers for Independent Living. Centers also solicit local and private funding to meet service needs which have been identified at the local level.


Who do Centers serve?


Centers provide services to individuals with significant disabilities as well as to the local community at large. Core services to individuals, provided by all Centers include Information and Referral, Peer Counseling, Independent Living Skills Training, and Individual and Systems Change Advocacy. Services to the community include disability awareness, technical assistance regarding accessibility and legal issues, as well as general disability related information. In Fiscal Year 2008 the Centers provided comprehensive services to over 8,200 consumers. In addition, local communities and consumers received advocacy, information and referral, and other community support.


Where are Centers in Virginia?


The sixteen Centers for Independent Living are located in Norfolk, Hampton, the Eastern Shore, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Arlington, Manassas, Charlottesville, Winchester, Roanoke, Lynchburg, Abingdon, Grundy, Harrisonburg and Big Stone Gap. There are 4 satellite Centers for Independent Living, in Petersburg, Christiansburg, Arlington, and Hampton. See "Where Can I Find Out More" below for a listing.


How are Centers created?


Centers for Independent Living are created through the efforts of local people with disabilities, their family members, friends, and other interested persons. As people become organized, they begin to assess the local needs, level of local interest and support for a Center. Successful establishment of a Center for Independent Living often depends on networking, personal involvement, coalition building, and a commitment to the empowerment of persons with disabilities.


Where can I find out more?


For a list of CILs in Virginia, please visit:


For additional information contact Theresa Preda at the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services at 1-800-552-5019 (Voice) or 800-464-9950 (TTY) or email


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Copyright © 2008
Virginia Division for the Aging
Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services
1610 Forest Avenue, Suite 100
Henrico, VA 23229
Toll-Free: 1-800-552-3402 | Richmond/Henrico local: (804) 662-9333
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