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

Information Alert: ILA Reorganization Underway

NCIL has recently learned of upcoming reorganization at the Independent Living Administration (ILA) within the Administration for Community Living (ACL). This is expected to include the demotion of ILA Director Bob Williams; and Julie Hocker, Commissioner of the Administration on Disability (AOD), will become the new Director of the ILA as well as keeping her current position. This means that the Independent Living Administration will no longer have a full-time Director! It is also our understanding that Regional Offices will be closed, although some staff will remain.

NCIL is extremely concerned about these sudden and unexpected changes, and particularly at Bob’s removal as Director of the ILA.

The Independent Living (IL) network advocated for the IL Program to transfer from the Department of Education to ACL with the 2014 reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The intent of the law was to strengthen the national IL network and allow the IL Program to better fulfill its goals of supporting independent living, consumer control and inclusion. It was believed that transitioning the Program to ACL would better implement consumer control over independent living services. Since the transition of the IL Program to ACL, we have hoped that the IL community – including NCIL – has been seen as an important partner in the ILA’s work. This unexpected restructuring, done without any consultation or forewarning, is not indicative of the strong working relationship that we have been building for the last five years. It also does not instill confidence that the issues we have faced to this point will reach clear or expedient resolution.

Further, we are very disappointed that Bob will no longer serve as the ILA’s Director. Section 701A of the Rehabilitation Act requires that the Director of the ILA must be an individual with “substantial knowledge of independent living services.” Bob brought to this role a long history of working within and alongside the IL community. As an individual with a significant disability, his own experiences, coupled with his strong professional background, made him uniquely qualified to lead the ILA. Since his appointment, Bob has proven himself to be a strong and capable Director, and he has worked closely with the IL community to provide steady and transparent leadership. His departure from this role will be a significant loss to the ILA and the IL network as a whole.

We do not have any more information at this time, but we expect additional information to be released soon. None of these changes will take place until August 1, 2019. However, we felt it was important to get as much information as we could to the IL network as soon as possible.

This is an evolving situation, and we will share information with you as soon as we receive it.

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  1. karen bureau says

    This administration is outrageous and has been trying to dismantle every gain people with disabilities have made in the name of cost cutting and consolidation! This is another attack on the freedoms of people with disabilities!! Let’s fight back at every turn folks!

  2. karen bureau says

    where do we write to express our concern? we need an email address!

  3. William Jefferson says

    Link to the entire Federal Register Notice regarding the reorganization of ACL including NIDILRR which you do not even mention and the ILA.

    There is more to this story and you should be checking it out.

  4. Denise Myler says

    Why do I have the feeling after reading the information in the Federal Register that disabled freedom is unattack and seniors safety is meaningless. What next? I agree with Karen we need to fight on yet another front for our independence and the independence and safety of Seniors.