2. Centers for Independent Living

Independent Living means different things to different people. For those involved in the Independent Living movement, it means having control of one's life. Living independently does not mean doing everything for oneself. Rather, it means being in control of decisions made about oneself. This is the foundation upon which Centers for Independent Living are built.

A Center for Independent Living (CIL) is a private, non-residential, community-based, not-for-profit, consumer-controlled organization that is mandated to provide 5 core services: Advocacy, Peer Support, Independent Living Skills Development, Information and Referral, and Transition. Staff serve as role models, demonstrating that individuals with disabilities can be independent and productive. Their knowledge, support and guidance help to create informed choice options that give consumers the confidence to pursue their own independence and to realize their dreams and aspirations.

CILs promote a positive self-image, which is important to developing significant peer relationships.  What truly distinguishes and sets CILs apart from other organizations is the fact that consumer control exists on every level, where at least 51% of staff, management staff and the Board of Directors must be individuals with disabilities. Having consumer control in decision-making positions is paramount to maintaining the integrity of what a CIL should and must be. However, the most challenging barrier for individuals with disabilities to overcome is attitude. To gradually dismantle this barrier, CILs advocate for changes in legislation, provide disability awareness-related activities, develop technical assistance initiatives regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and work in a committed fashion to deinstitutionalize individuals with disabilities who can and want to live independently.  The work of CILs are guided by a federally approved State Plan for Independent Living that is written in collaboration with the Division, Center for Independent Living, and the Statewide Independent Living Council.  The current plan can be accessed here: https://silcofillinois.org/wp-content/uploads/Illinois_SPIL_2021-2023.pdf

Program Highlights

  • CIL funding was expanded to service all of Illinois' 102 counties.
  • Services were provided to over 63,000 individuals regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or disability.
    • Information and referral services: 46,383
    • Independent Living/Life Skills Training Services: 5,719
    • Peer Counseling: 2,574
    • Individual System Advocacy: 3,487
    • Transition Services: 3,348
    • Fast Track: 1,736

From Institutionalization to Reintegration

Robert T. Transition CustomerMany individuals in Illinois nursing facilities have the capability to live independently within the community. For over 2 decades, CILs have worked to move individuals with disabilities out of nursing facilities and other institutions and back into community-based independent living situations of their choice.  CILs provide the necessary resources to offer the start-up essentials (i.e., 1st month's rent, furniture, cooking equipment, peer support) to help individuals successfully transition into the community.  In FY21, 100 individuals were transitioned into the community.

Robert T., is in his 50's, had been in a nursing facility for 2 years following a stroke. He loves sports and is so excited to be living on his own, making his own decisions as to when to get up or go to bed, what to eat and even what he wants to do for the day. Robert loves to be able to watch whatever sports game is on. Robert is a wheelchair user and uses services through the Home Services Program to assist with activities of daily living. Robert had waited for over a year for an apartment to become available so he could transition.

Personal Assistant Training

In order to help meet the growing need for personal assistants (PA), the Home Services Program partnered with the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL) and targeted CILs throughout the state to recruit and train individuals wishing to work as a PA for individuals with disabilities. Upon completion of the training, PAs are added to a registry that is available to individuals with disabilities in the community who may be in need of assistance. INCIL uses a toll-free help line, 1-800-587-1227, during normal business hours to assist customers with identifying potential providers.

INCIL subcontracts with CILs lead outreach efforts to educate the public about the need for PAs, educate potential providers about the profession, and provide mentoring with individuals in the community to assist them with the development of better skills toward managing their care. 

Employment & Transition Services

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 made significant changes to the Rehabilitation Act which governs CILs; including their provision of vocational services. Across the state, the Division partnered with 18 CILs to provide pre-employment and 2 to provide employment services to individuals with disabilities in a variety of ways. There are programs that teach independent living skills for those who wish to enter the workforce and programs that work statewide with youth within the schools.

CILs also work with individuals statewide on career exploration, workplace readiness, self-advocacy skills, outreach, job development, pre-employment services, and assistance with job placement to youth with disabilities.

In an effort to better prepare youth for transitioning into employment after high school, many of the CILs attend Individual Education Plan meetings within the schools to advocate for the student and the family in obtaining needed services.

Independent Living Services for Individuals who are Blind and DeafBlind

The Older Blind Program is awarded through a competitive process to eligible service providers statewide.  Eight (8) CILs, of a total of 12, were awarded funding to provide services to individuals who are age 55 and older and who have severe visual impairments which makes it difficult to obtain competitive employment. Individuals benefit from independent living services provided by CILs, which include: outreach services, braille instruction, guide services, reader services, transportation, supportive services, and rehabilitation teaching services. Separate of the support offered through the Older Blind Program, funding is allocated to provide specialized services to individuals who are DeafBlind and to increase public awareness activities of available services and supports offered.

Obligated Operational Spending

$ in thousands

CIL Name State IL Federal IL PA Training Employment & Transition Blind & DeafBlind Total
ACCESS LIVING OF METRO CHICAGO $497.5 $325.1 $28.3 $338.1 $0.0 $1,189.0
ACHIEVING INDEPENDENCE AND $392.6 $180.5 $0.0 $106.0 $0.0 $679.1
ADVOCATES FOR ACCESS $336.9 $168.1 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $504.9
ILLINOIS VALLEY CIL $238.9 $112.6 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $351.5
ILLINOIS-IOWA CENTER FOR $184.5 $116.9 $0.0 $91.0 $0.0 $392.4
IMPACT CIL $314.4 $190.2 $0.0 $17.9 $227.6 $750.2
JACKSONVILLE AREA CTR FOR $163.5 $73.2 $0.0 $0.0 $89.2 $325.9
LAKE CTY CTR FOR INDPT LIVING $238.3 $180.2 $25.0 $265.1 $68.8 $777.3
LINC INC $266.2 $142.2 $0.0 $0.0 $110.6 $518.9
LIVING INDEPENDENCE FOR $270.9 $181.2 $0.0 $33.6 $90.0 $575.7
NORTHWESTERN ILLINOIS CENTER $243.4 $115.8 $0.0 $5.7 $0.0 $364.9
OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACCESS $421.0 $167.9 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $589.0
OPTIONS CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT $181.6 $112.9 $0.0 $16.0 $55.3 $365.9
PERSONS ASSUMING CNTRLENVRNMN $305.3 $161.1 $0.0 $29.4 $91.3 $587.2
PROGRESS CTR FOR INDPT LIVING $376.8 $196.5 $21.0 $32.2 $0.0 $626.5
REGIONAL ACCESS & MOBIL PROJ $373.3 $227.7 $0.0 $373.9 $0.0 $974.9
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS CENTER FOR $262.6 $392.7 $0.0 $161.5 $0.0 $816.8
SOYLAND ACCSS TO INDPNDNT LVNG $167.0 $124.6 $0.0 $0.0 $80.0 $371.6
SPRINGFIELD CENTER FOR $292.8 $116.4 $21.0 $0.0 $0.0 $430.2
STATEWIDE INDEPENDENT LIVING $0.0 $236.5 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $236.5
STONE-HAYES CIL $85.1 $11.6 $0.0 $9.3 $0.0 $106.0
WEST CENTRAL ILLINOIS CENTER $189.8 $85.1 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $275.0
WILL-GRUNDY CENTER FOR $184.5 $134.1 $0.0 $296.1 $0.0 $614.7
Total $5,986.7 $3,753.4 $95.3 $1,775.7 $812.8 $12,423.9

The Independent Living Network

Map with the 22 CIL locations

Map of Illinois' Centers for Independent Living starting with offices from the most northern to southern points in Illinois:

RAMP - Rockford, LCCIL - Mundelein, NICIL - Sterling, AIM - Downers Grove, PCIL - Forest Park, AL - Chicago, IICIL - Rock Island, IVCIL - LaSalle, DRC - Joliet, Stone-Hayes - Galesburg, Options - Bourbonnais, AFA - Peroia Heights, LIFE - Bloomington, PACE - Urbana, WCICIL - Quincy, SAIL - Decatur, SCIL - Springfield, JACIL - Jacksonville, IMPACT - Alton, LINC - Swansea, OFA CIL - Mount Vernon, SICIL - Carbondale

AL (Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago)

AFA (Advocates for Access)

AIM (Achieving Independence and Mobility)

DRC (Disability Resource Center)

IVCIL (Illinois Valley CIL)

IICIL (Illinois/Iowa CIL)


JACIL (Jacksonville Area CIL)

LCCIL (Lake County CIL)

LIFE (Living Independence for Everyone)

LINC (Living Independently Now Center)

NICIL (Northwestern Illinois CIL)

OFA CIL (Opportunities for Access CIL)


PACE (Persons Assuming Control of their Environment)

PCIL (Progress CIL)

RAMP (Regional Access and Mobilization Project)

SICIL (Southern Illinois CIL)

SAIL (Soyland Access for Independent Living)

SCIL (Springfield CIL)


WCICIL (West Central Illinois CIL)