Action Alert: April 28, 2023


April 28, 2023 | by Emma Olson

Today, we need your help to serve more Illinoisans with disabilities!

On a regular basis, Centers for Independent Living (CILs) across Illinois serve people with disabilities who struggle to get accessible, disability-competent services and supports. CILs are unique in that by federal law, our staff and board must be made up of more than 50% people with disabilities. We know how to support people with disabilities, because we live with disabilities ourselves. Access Living is one of the 22 CILs in Illinois.

We are asking the State of Illinois for an increase of $10 million in funding to CILs. Here is an easy action alert form you can use to help us contact Illinois legislators to ask them to support  HB 4017/SB 2548. CILs have received minimal increases in our history. As a result, we cannot remain competitive employers. Without the funding to pay competitive wages, we cannot meet the essential needs of our community. In addition, higher gas prices and other direct expenses required to operate CILs mean we are continually forced to do more with less. This is unsustainable.

What does it take to serve more people with disabilities throughout the State of Illinois? Currently, Illinois CILs serve more than 50,000 people with disabilities each year. Our collective goal is to reach even more people with disabilities across the state, especially the folks that are really hard to reach and in need of supports. To do this, we need increased organizational capacity through state funding.

Why invest in CILs? Here’s what we do:

  • Direct, individualized services and information and referral to over 50,000 disabled people.
  • Thousands of hours of community education events in partnership with local governments, businesses, and other non-profits.
  • CILs save the state, and taxpayers, millions of dollars moving people with disabilities from nursing homes into the community.
  • CILs provide essential programs that help all types of disabled people of any age live independently in the community.
  • CILs have programs and services no other entities offer and we can often help in situations when no other provider can.

HB 4017/SB 2548 would give CILs statewide a fighting chance to serve many more people. In the big picture of state finances, $10 million is truly a drop in the bucket. Access Living strongly believes this investment could move Illinois towards improving the lives of thousands more people with disabilities statewide. Let’s get the funding where it’s needed!

Please share this alert with fellow disability community folks in Illinois. Thank you for your advocacy.