Who We Are:
We did not just learn this– we live it!
Independent Living Center of Mobile is a Center for Independent Living (CIL), an organization not about “helping” people with disabilities but built on the central concept of self-empowerment. It is a consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability nonprofit that provides an array of independent living services. We do everything it takes to empower people with disabilities to live active, self-determined lives including advocacy, services, and support. More than half of our staff are persons with disabilities, as are over half of our Board of Directors.
The mission of the Independent Living Center of Mobile is to foster and promote programs which empower persons with disabilities to attain their maximum degree of independence. While advocating for the protection of their civil rights.
Independent Living center of Mobile offers core services to the following counties in the Southwest region of Alabama: Baldwin, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Escambia, Geneva, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, Sumter, Washington, Wilcox. We answer all inquiries regardless of location. We can forward inquiries to the appropriate agency per location and need.
Principles that guide our decision-making.
- Empowerment – We do not reach goals for individuals; we teach the skills that allow them to do for themselves.
- Inclusion – We advocate for individuals with disabilities to be included in integrated environments in the classroom, employment, fun, housing, leadership roles, and in discussions that impact their lives and the disability community.
- Independence – Individuals with disabilities should have the right to control their own lives and make decisions about what is best for them. We believe every individual can be independent.
- Equality – We advocate for equal rights and access, not special treatment.
- Disability Pride – “Disability” is not a negative word. It means we are more adaptable. We are proud of who we are, and the barriers we have overcome have only made us stronger.
Our Core Services
Services of the Independent Living Center of Mobile
Information and referral
ILC-Mobile maintains comprehensive information files on the availability in their communities concerning accessible housing; transportation; employment opportunities; rosters of persons and agencies available to serve as personal care attendants, interpreters for hearing impaired people, or readers for visually impaired people; and many other services.
Independent living skills training
ILC-Mobile provides training courses to help people with disabilities gain skills that would enable them to live more independently; courses may include using various public transportation systems, managing a personal budget, dealing with insensitive and discriminatory behavior by members of the general public, and many other subjects.
ILC-Mobile offers a service in which a person with a disability can work with other persons who have disabilities and who are living independently in the community. The objective is to explore options and to solve problems that sometimes occur for people with disabilities, for example, making adjustments to a newly acquired disability, experiencing changes in living arrangements, or learning to use community services more effectively.
ILC-Mobile promotes consumer advocacy, which involves center staff working with persons with disabilities to obtain necessary support services from other agencies in the community.
ILC-Mobile promotes community advocacy, which involves center staff, board members, and volunteers initiating activities to make changes in the community that make it easier for all persons with disabilities to live more independently and teaches people with disabilities how to advocate for themselves at the local, state and Federal level on disability issues.
ILC-Mobile promotes voting rights advocacy, demonstrating how, when, and where to vote, and works to ensure voting accessibility.
Transition into the Community
Receive assistance relocating from an institution into your own home. Get help learning about the things you will need to be successful – such as finding housing, setting up utilities, and arranging and getting support from others. As well as Nursing Home Diversion: Help prevent entering a nursing home by identifying problems that threaten your independence and solutions that work for you.
Community Integrated Support Services
ILC-Mobile’s Community Integrated Support Services are designed to empower people with intellectual disabilities and significant disabilities to become fully integrated into, and involved in their communities. Our focus is to support people as they find and keep jobs in the community, and become involved in other meaningful community activities during the day.
We believe that all people have the right to be active in their community regardless of their disability, or the level of support they may need.
We believe that an individual’s services must be truly centered around that person, and that their choices and desires are the basis upon which services are provided.
We believe that along with the right to be involved in the community, comes a person’s responsibilities to that community, and we support and guide those we serve in fulfilling their responsibilities.
Through creativity, flexibility, and a complete commitment to community-based services, our Community Integrated Support Services provide individualized, person centered supports and training so those we serve may take their rightful place in the community.
ILC-Mobile also offers a number of other services, generally depending on specific needs of their consumers and lack of availability elsewhere in the community. Among the most frequently provided services are community education and other public information services, equipment repair, recreational activities, and home modifications.
How the Independent Living Center of Mobile Differ from Other Service Organizations
There are many different types of organizations which serve people with disabilities — state vocational rehabilitation agencies, group homes, rehabilitation hospitals, sheltered workshops, nursing homes, senior centers, home health care agencies, and so forth. These organizations provide valuable services and are important links in the network of services that help people with disabilities maintain independent lifestyles.
What makes ILC-Mobile very different from these other organizations is that the center has a substantial involvement of people with disabilities making policy decisions and delivering services. Why this emphasis on control by people with disabilities? The basic idea behind the independent living movement is that the ones who know best about what services people with disabilities need in order to live independently are disabled people themselves.
The Independent Living Movement
In the late 1960s and the early 1970s, this idea led people with disabilities from around the county to take active roles on local, state, and national levels in shaping decisions on issues affecting their lives. A major part of these activities involved formation of community-based groups of people with different types of disabilities who worked together to identify barriers and gaps in service delivery. To address barriers, action plans were developed to educate the community and to influence policymakers at all levels to change regulations and to introduce barrier-removing legislation.
To address gaps in services, a new method of service delivery was conceived — one which has people with disabilities determining kinds of services essential to living independently, has people with disabilities directing the deliver of these services, and has people with disabilities actually providing these services.
The earliest center was formed in 1972 in Berkeley, California by Ed Roberts, soon followed that same year by centers in Boston and Houston. In 1978, following effective advocacy by people with disabilities and their supporters all over the country, federal legislation was passed that provided funding to establish independent living centers (Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act). Today, there are centers in virtually every state and U.S. territory.
Disability Groups Served by Centers
ILC-Mobile typically serves a wide variety of disability groups, including people with mobility impairments — which may be caused by spinal cord injury, amputation, neuromuscular disease, cerebral palsy, and so forth — as well as people who have visual impairments, hearing impairments, intellectual disabilities, significant disabilities, mental illness, traumatic brain injury, and many other disability groups as well as hidden disabilities.