Independent Living, Advocacy and Legal Services

Independent Living, Advocacy and Legal Services

Access Living’s organizational structure allows us to function effectively, serve the growing needs of our consumers and focus on important issues affecting the disabled community.

The Advocacy Department at Access Living

Access Living is the Center for Independent Living for the city of Chicago. We run advocacy and independent living programs to support people with disabilities live the lives we want to live. The majority of our staff, leadership and board are people with disabilities, reflecting our core value of consumer control–––nothing about us without us!

Our Advocacy Department works in collaboration with our Independent Living Department to create real options and freedom for self–determination of people with all kinds of disabilities. While our independent living services provide individual and peer group support in navigating life issues, our advocacy work creates systemic and community opportunities to protect and exercise our human rights.

The Advocacy Department is divided into two main areas of action:

Community Development and Organizing (CDO) : Our CDO team is dedicated to developing the leadership of grassroots people with disabilities and working through community organizing to fight for social change.

Policy Analysis : Our Policy Team experts monitor, craft and respond to policies, regulations, programs and legislation that affect the disability community.

We also work to partner with our fellow disability organizations throughout Chicago and across the state of Illinois. Over the last thirty years, Access Living's staff have created social change for disability rights at the local, state, national and even international levels. We are proud to continue to set the advocacy agenda to support the freedom and power of people with disabilities.

The Independent Living Department at Access Living

Utilizing a peer–based, self–help philosophy, the Independent Living Department empowers people with disabilities to overcome societal barriers to equality and inclusion by imparting crucial independent living skills, teaching economic self–sufficiency, and enabling people with disabilities to transition to autonomous community living. The Independent Living Department offers the following direct services:

Housing Locator Services
Community and Economic Development Services
Long–Term Care Services
Youth and Education Services

Civil Rights Department

Our Civil Rights Department does legal work to protect the rights of people with disabilities in the areas of community integration and fair housing, to ensure that our people have the right to live in the communities of their choice.