Independent Living (IL) - Core Services

IN consumer with their guide dog leaving our office in Silver Spring. Independence Now, (IN) Inc. is a Center for Independent Living (CIL), which is a non-residential, consumer controlled, community-based, cross-disability, non-profit organization. Along with the other 400 plus CILs in the United States, we are unique in that we are staffed and governed by people with disabilities and operate according to the philosophy that people with disabilities have the right to govern their own lives. We provide an array of services to people with ALL types of disabilities who live in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties.

The Independent Living philosophy stresses consumer (a person with a disability) control, the idea that people with disabilities are the best authorities on their own needs. They have crucial and valuable viewpoints to contribute and are worthy of equal access to services and programs. People with disabilities should have the opportunity to decide how to live, work, and take part in their communities, particularly in reference to services that powerfully affect their day-to-day lives and access to independence.


Attendees from the Disability Resource Symposium for Spanish Residents, in recognition of Latin American Heritage Month.

Independence Now's core services are:

Peer Counseling

It is our belief that individuals with disabilities are the best guides to independence; therefore, Independent Living Specialists:

  • serve as role models
  • assist with self-exploration
  • assist with self-directed goals setting and achievement
  • direct consumers to appropriate services and programs
  • serve as advocates

Advocacy

  • System Advocacy - Staff interacts with local, state, and federal legislators and agency leaders on behalf of people with disabilities to advocate for more responsive disability policy in personal assistance services, housing, employment, transportation, youth/transition, visitability and other major issue areas.
  • Individual Advocacy - Staff works individually and in group settings with consumers to assist with increasing their personal self-advocacy skills and knowledge of their civil rights.

Independent Living Skills Training

IL Specialists facilitate one-on-one and group skills trainings in an array of areas to promote independence, such as:

  • independent housing
  • decision making and time management
  • local, national and legislative laws
  • transportation and employment
  • budgeting, cooking and kitchen safety
  • other areas according to individualized needs

Information and Referral (I&R)

As a resource and advocacy center, IN serves as a guide through the maze of services by connecting consumers and the general public with current information on programs, equipment and community resources. Information and referrals help assist consumers to build a network of supports as they pursue goal achievements and furtherance of their independence.

Referrals are also made to other community organizations and programs.

IN publishes a monthly newsletter "IN Touch" that outlines all monthly and quarterly activities such as:

  • Housing Information Seminars
  • Employment Seminars
  • Lunch or Dinner and Movie (this combines our Creative Cooking Class and Advocate's Theater)
  • Transportation Action Group (TAG)
  • Let's Get Together (for people wanting and waiting to move to the community)

Transition

Transition services has several parts, first, supporting students with disabilities transition from high school to work or post-secondary education. It is also Transition and Diversion from Nursing Homes- Assisting to make the transition from institutions back into the community and into their own homes or to prevent Nursing Facility placement.