What is an Independent Living Center?

An independent living center is a consumer controlled, community based, cross disability, nonresidential private nonprofit agency that is designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities. Independent living services maximize the ability to live independently in the environment of their own choosing. The 28 independent living centers offer five core services mandated by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Title VII, Chapter 1 and H.R. 803 - 113th Congress: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: Information and Referral, Advocacy, Independent Living Skills, Peer Counseling, and Transition. California added two additional core services: Personal Assistance Services and Housing. ILC's also provide individual assistive technology (AT) services to consumers. For more information on the California AT program, please see our Assistive Technology page.

Cores service and explanations are listed below:

  • Information and Referrals (I&R)
    - Information and referral is the art, science and practice of bringing people and services together. If individuals or families don't know where to turn, or need more information, I&R can help connect them with the information, tools, and resources they need.

  • Advocacy
    - ILC's provide services around both individual and systems advocacy. The goal is to empower people of all ages with disabilities to reach their highest level of achievement by teaching them to advocate for individual and systems changes that result in access, choice, equality, inclusion, integration and independence. Systemic advocacy attempts to change laws and attitudes surrounding disability. Personal advocacy is a type of problem-solving designed to protect personal and legal rights and ensure a dignified existence.

  • Independent Living Skills
    - ILC's provide information and instruction which lead to mastery in the following areas: health and safety, community resources, meal planning and nutrition, self-advocacy, sexual awareness, Personal Assistant management, household management, recreation and leisure, and money management. The integration and full participation of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of society is the desired outcome.

  • Peer Counseling
    - ILC's provide support and role models for people who want to live more independently. Personal experience with disability often places ILC staff in a unique position to understand and effectively teach people who experience disabilities while providing a role model for success.

  • Transition
    - ILC's provide services that facilitate transition from nursing homes and other institutions to the community, provide assistance to those at risk of entering institutions, and facilitate transition of youth to postsecondary life.

  • Personal Assistance Services
    - Many persons with disabilities require personal assistants (PAS) in order to live independently. PAs assist consumers with a wide variety of duties. Depending on the individual, these activities might include getting up and getting ready for the day, bathing, dressing, cooking, cleaning or running errands. Some people also use PAS in the workplace. Examples of PAS in the workplace vary, but may involve activities such as retrieving materials out of reach or providing travel assistance for an employee with a mobility impairment; helping an employee with a cognitive disability in decision-making; reading printed materials to an employee who experiences a visual impairment; or ensuring a sign language interpreter is present during meetings. ILCs can help connect people to qualified PAS and teach them how to manage these important employees.

  • Housing
    - ILC's offer one-on-one assistance to qualified consumers to help them locate affordable and accessible housing, as well as to find residential supports and accessing programs and services for which they may be eligible.


List of Independent Living Centers


For additional assistance, please contact the state wide independent living center association, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers