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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Independent Living & The Rehabilitation Act

IL-NET T&TA Center Presents… A National Webinar – Coordinating Accessible & Engaging Virtual Events for CILs and SILCs: A Panel Discussion of Promising Practices

December 8, 2021; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

We are all adapting to the virtual environment. So much of our work is done virtually now that we hardly have a choice. But, we must do everything possible to ensure that our virtual spaces are as accessible as possible. Join us in December for a panel discussion of promising practices from the IL-NET team including APRIL, ILRU, and NCIL to make your virtual events accessible and engaging. We will share specific tips, features, and accommodations, along with a broader discussion of ideas and resources to consider for your meetings and events.

Registration Fee: This event is free-of-charge.

Target Audience: Executive directors, program managers, and staff members of Centers for Independent Living

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ACL Investing $150 Million to Expand the Public Health Workforce to Respond to the Needs of People with Disabilities and Older Adults

Source: ACL

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the Administration for Community Living (ACL) will receive $150 million to increase the public health workforce’s disability and aging expertise and strengthen the collaboration with public health systems to support the health and safety of people with disabilities and older adults who are disproportionately affected during emergencies and disasters, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work, and play. The aging and disability networks funded by ACL play essential roles in that work. These networks are the nation’s visible and trusted infrastructure providing health and wellness education and information, counseling, case management, community services, and guidance related to health and social needs, as well as information on how to access those supports in every local community in the country.

“This funding will allow our national network of over 20,000 community-based organizations to further assist in efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and bring help to communities that need it most,” said Alison Barkoff, ACL’s Acting Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging.

The funding will directly support wages and benefits for public health professionals within the disability and aging networks. These professionals provide a wide range of public health services and supports, including provision of culturally affirmative and linguistically accessible information, access assistance for vaccines and boosters, transition and diversion from high-risk congregate settings to community living, provision and connections to health and wellness programs, and activities that address social isolation and social determinants of health.

The networks and organizations eligible to receive public health workforce funding include:

  • Independent Living Centers
  • Independent Living Designated State Entities
  • No Wrong Door Systems/Aging and Disability Resource Centers
  • Paralysis and Limb Loss Resource Centers
  • Protection & Advocacy Systems
  • State Assistive Technology Programs
  • State Councils on Developmental Disabilities
  • State Health Insurance Assistance Programs
  • State Units on Aging/Area Agencies on Aging
  • Traumatic Brain Injury State Partnership Programs, and
  • Tribes and tribal organizations
  • University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs)

“Our networks have a reach across states and into local communities across the county to assist people with disabilities and older adults who need support,” said Acting Administrator Barkoff. “These funds are part of our critical mission to support older adults and people with disabilities in their desire to live, work, and contribute to their communities and to make sure they have access to the supports they need during and after the pandemic.”

Save the Date: SILC Congress in San Diego!

May 16-18, 2022

Holiday Inn Bayside

“Pandemic to Possibilities: SILC Solutions”

Early Bird (December 15, 2021-February 14, 2022)

  • Member-$350
  • Non-member-$450

Regular (February 15, 2022-March 30, 2022)

  • Member $400
  • Non-member-$500

Late (April 1-2022-April 25, 2022)

  • Member $450
  • Non-member-$550

Meal Ticket for Spouse / PCA

  • Member-$200
  • Non-member-$200

Registration Link will open on December 15th, 2021 at!

The first 25 to register with payment during the early bird will receive 6 free tickets (6 for $5) for the 50/50 raffle.

Room Rate will be $155 through April 15th, 2022.

  • State Baskets!
  • 50/50 Raffle!
  • Informative General Sessions!
  • State Sharing!

NCIL Statement on its Ongoing Commitment to Racial Equity

In the days following the state murder of George Floyd, organizations across the world issued statements. Statements were their way to show they cared about the issue of police violence. They were statements of solidarity. Statements of sympathy. Statements of support. By May of 2020, the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) had been working on racial equity issues for a year. The board started their work with an equity and inclusion consultant in October 2019. In June 2020, the NCIL Board issued our own statement. The NCIL statement was a commitment to continuing the work of examining our own operations at all levels to incorporate anti-racism into our advocacy. NCIL also committed to lead in including racial equity into disability advocacy.

Just a year after this commitment, the NCIL board hired Reyma McCoy McDeid. Reyma is the first disabled Black woman to lead a national disability-run organization. The decision to hire her should not have been surprising. Reyma brings impressive credentials to the position. Reyma has a history of effective work in disability service and advocacy spaces. What the board did not appreciate, even with the racial equity work that had been undertaken, was how the organization would be required to confront implicit bias as our members, our partners, and the larger community interacted with NCIL under the leadership of a Black woman.

NCIL is no stranger to the struggle in addressing structural bias. Indeed, challenging ableism has demanded a dogged commitment, holding friends, allies, providers, and opponents accountable for removing barriers and addressing outdated thinking about disabilities and people with disabilities. It has meant challenging others’ unconscious bias. Unconscious bias is when he hold beliefs that we do not realize make up part of our thinking. It is important to challenge unconscious bias because that thinking limits our potential as much as physical barriers in the environment does.

NCIL has made the commitment to challenge our own bias, unconscious and otherwise, when it comes to issues related to race. NCIL has committed to bringing the energy and intensity we have used to move disability rights forward to create accountability inside and outside our movement for the ways that Black and brown people of color are perceived, treated, and excluded. We will no more allow people to accuse the organization or the leadership of the organization of “playing the race card” than we have allowed others to accuse us of using our disabilities to get “special treatment.”

NCIL is pleased to be joined in the commitment to disability justice by allies in the movement. The willingness of partner organizations to take up this work has been encouraging.

Centene shares in NCIL’s commitment to disability justice. Centene recognizes that our nationwide network of members is critically impacted as structural bias based on disability, race, gender identity or sexual orientation ties directly to health and well-being. We appreciate the leadership NCIL is showing by embracing equity in all its forms.

– Rick Fredrickson, Centene Corporation, St. Louis, Missouri

CILs around the country have embraced NCIL’s leadership in advancing the conversation and supporting the work of promoting equity in all areas.

NCIL’s courage in calling out racial bias in disability spaces has placed it apart from other organizations. With Reyma McCoy McDeid’s leadership, the disability rights movement is progressing with a vision of inclusion and equity for all members of our community, and an unrelenting demand to deliver the potential of a generation of work to the most marginalized members of our community.

– Shari Coatney, SKIL Resource Center, Parsons, Kansas

The investment in the long-term sustainability from disability leaders with a history in the organization has been greatly appreciated.

As seasoned NCIL leader, I was pleased to have the opportunity to talk with Reyma early in her tenure as Executive Director of NCIL. Her straightforward approach and vision for NCIL’s movement towards a justice-oriented framework represents a culture change for the organization. A needed change for the evolution and continuation of our fight for disability rights for generations to come.

– Ann McDaniel, West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council

NCIL staff have joined in on the work needed to create cultural change for the organization.

As NCIL approaches our 40th anniversary, we are poised for a shift towards intersectional disability justice – an approach that opposes broad systems of oppression and marginalization in our pursuit of justice for disabled people. NCIL staff eagerly support this shift and feel that it is imperative for the continued success and longevity of the organization. We encourage other disability organizations to join us in this work.

– Tim Fuchs, Director of Operations, National Council on Independent Living

Diversity is not enough. A commitment to diversity alone does not support people in positions where the outside environment continues to discriminate, including members within the organization or past leaders of the organization. The NCIL Board is committed to promoting equity and inclusion, through leadership in the organization and by demanding accountability and change where bias in all its forms happens.

We are thankful for the leaders in the disability rights movement who have joined us in welcoming Reyma to her position and supporting the organization’s shift towards disability justice work. We look forward to shared growth in this commitment with existing partners, and to developing new partnerships with people, groups, and allies who share a vision of a society without barriers for anyone.

Funding Options for Transition and Diversion During COVID-19: A Fact Sheet for CILs

NCIL is happy to announce the release of our new Fact Sheet for CILs, Funding Options for Transition and Diversion During COVID-19.

The Fact Sheet is written in plain language and available in several formats.

About the Fact Sheet

COVID-19 has hurt disabled people. Centers for Independent Living (CILs) have been trying to help disabled people survive during the pandemic. CILs have been helping disabled people leave institutions and move to their own homes. Helping disabled people leave institutions is called transition. CILs have also helped people to stay in their homes with the support they need. Helping people stay in their own homes is called diversion.

Some federal programs have made money available to support this work of CILs. There are many different ways CILs can get money from the federal government to work with disabled people during the pandemic. This fact sheet talks about these options. It also talks about how CILs can use this money. All the options give CILs money to support disabled and aging people in the community. CILs can use this money to move people out of institutions and support people in their own homes.

The Fact Sheet is about five different funding sources:

  • CARES Act money
  • Category B money
  • No Wrong Door money
  • Changes to Medicaid funding
  • Money Follows the Person money

Share Your Thoughts on NCIL’s Annual Conference on Independent Living

NCIL is seeking input from potential participants for the 2022 Annual Conference on Independent Living. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is still a huge factor in decisions about travel and indoor events. Please take a few moments to share your thoughts about the NCIL conference with us! This very brief survey is designed to take less than 2 minutes to complete.

Take the survey:

IL-NET T&TA Center Presents… A National Webinar: Know Your Resources — Orientation to the IL-NET National Training & Technical Assistance Center for CILs and SILCs

November 17, 2021; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

The IL-NET National Training & Technical Assistance (T&TA) Center operated by ILRU in collaboration with NCIL, APRIL, and the University of Montana Rural Institute and RTC: Rural, supports CILs and SILCs in building capacity to run strong, effective organizations. The IL-NET’s resources cover an expansive list of topics related to CILs and SILCs, with an emphasis on core services. The scope of the center’s offerings is broad. This webinar will highlight what’s new with the IL-NET and help you learn how to find the resources and training available through ILRU’s comprehensive website that best meet your needs. Our IL-NET team is here to assist you with finding the publications, recorded trainings, courses, and materials that will help you operate your CIL or SILC with excellence. 

Please join us for this complimentary webinar to learn what the IL-NET National T&TA Center has to offer you. Staff from ILRU will be joined by IL-NET collaborating organizations: NCIL, APRIL, and the University of Montana Rural Institute and RTC: Rural. The entire team will walk you through the trainings and resources the IL-NET offers and show you how you can best access them. You will learn about on-demand trainings and materials that are available immediately, as well as training topics for 2022 that you can add to your calendar. Don’t miss this free event!

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Webinar: Race, Disability, Organizational Culture, and Social Change: Promising Practices from Centers for Independent Living

October 28, 2021; 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT

Register online

Part of the RACE + DISABILITY webinar series, co-sponsored by FISA Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, and The Pittsburgh Foundation

Historically, disability services were designed to accommodate a singular identity: person with a disability; all other aspects of an individual’s experience were considered secondary. But structuring services that ignore the lived experience of racism has created and exacerbated inequities within disability services. Treating disability as race-neutral has also created unwelcoming and sometimes unsafe working conditions for people of color with disabilities who are on staff.

This session will explore promising practices in cultivating a welcoming and equitable culture, designed to include people of color with disabilities who are both consumers of services and staff offering support. Presenters represent various Centers for Independent Living. All panelists are multiply marginalized people with disabilities who are recognized for their efforts to advocate for equity in both the provision of supports and the leadership of staff.

This session will:

  • Ground participants with professional and personal understanding of what intersectionality in disability services looks like;
  • Provide context regarding how attempts to provide services without an intersectional lens can cause unnecessary harm to consumers;
  • Present action steps that providers and managers can take to address existing equity gaps at their agencies.


  • Reyma McCoy McDeid
  • Ami Hyten
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NCIL Announces New Board President and Two New Board Members

NCIL is thrilled to announce the results of our recent elections to the Governing Board.

  • Kent Crenshaw has been elected Governing Board President
  • Larissa Martin has been appointed Diversity Chairperson
  • Joel Peden has been elected Region 8 Representative

Kent Crenshaw had previously served as Region 4 Representative and is the Executive Director of Independent Rights & Resources (IRR) in Montgomery, Alabama. In addition to his own extensive advocacy accomplishments, Kent is deeply committed to NCIL’s commitment to become a leading disability justice organization. We share our congratulations and appreciation with Kent, Larissa, and Joel. Keep reading to learn more about NCIL’s new Governing Board members.

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Application Deadline Extended for Vaccine Access Funding for Eligible Centers for Independent Living

Source: ILRU

Kimberly Tissot of Able South Carolina and Richard Petty of ILRU in Houston announced today the Disability Vaccine Access Opportunities Center (DVAO Center) is extending the application deadline to October 15 at 12:00 Noon Eastern Time for applications for grant-based funding to support vaccination access for people with disabilities across the nation. Centers for independent living (CILs) that were not funded through the CARES Act and that were not previously recipients of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding are eligible to submit applications. This group of CILs includes centers funded through Part B of Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) and/or CILs funded with state and local funding. Awards for up to $50,000 through the vaccine access opportunity program for individual CILs are anticipated.

Interested eligible CILs are encouraged to apply for funding by completing an online application by 12:00 pm (Noon) EDT on October 15, 2021. The link to the online application is at

The Disability Vaccine Opportunity Access Center is a national center that will further vaccination access for people with disabilities. The prime recipient of the grant for this project is Able South Carolina, which as a center for independent living is a consumer directed organization. ILRU, an organization managed and operated by people with disabilities, is the principal partner and contractor. The DVAO Center will support local disability-run centers for independent living to assist people with disabilities to have full access to the vaccines that fight COVID-19. Funding for this effort is provided by the CDC Foundation of Atlanta, GA.

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