3410 W 12th St, Erie, PA 16505

Independent Living

Independent Living Programs in Pennsylvania

Most Americans take for granted the opportunities they have in their everyday lives, while many individuals with disabilities have to deal with the effects and the barriers they face in their communities. This often leads to a life of dependency and low personal satisfaction. But this does not need to happen; millions of Americans with disabilities are living a fulfilling and independent lives, and you can too.

What Are Independent Living Services?

Independent living services facilitate living just like someone who is not disabled. This means more than just living on your own and having a job that fits your skills and interests; it has to do with self-determination. It is being free to fail and to learn from those failures in the same way as people without disabilities.

Independent living means different things based on an individual’s impairments. For most individuals, it means having every opportunity to live as self-sufficiently as possible.

Independent Living Centers

Fortunately, people with disabilities don't have to do it all on their own. Independent Living Centers are a type of service organization designed to assist people with disabilities in achieving and maintaining independent lifestyles.

These organizations are run by people with disabilities who have been successful in establishing independent lives. These people have the personal experience, training, and a deep commitment to assisting other disabled people to live more independently.

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If you are ready to have a helping hand but are unsure of where to begin, our Care Reps can help you build a program that works for you and your unique needs. To schedule a teleconference or in-person consultation, please call or complete the form.


Center for Independent Living (CIL) 

CRI is one of more than 500 federally funded Centers for Independent Living across the nation established by people with disabilities for people with disabilities. 

02 CRI Service Area Map 09 16 2020Serving: Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Venango, and Warren Counties 

The Independent Living Skills Program is designed to help people with disabilities make the most of their abilities and increase self-reliance and self-confidence. We can help you take control of your life in order to live independently through trainings, resources, and information. 

Our advocates will encourage you in setting goal(s) and offer resources and support designed to help you be successful. 
Independent living services in Pennsylvania provide equal access to the same opportunities as the rest of society, as specified by the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act. Our staff provides instruction and training to people living with disabilities to assist them with living independently. 
Trainings may include daily living skills, such as: 

  • Budgeting 
  • Goal-setting 
  • Learning public transportation 
  • Self-advocacy/Organization 
  • Personal grooming 
  • Nutrition 
  • Meal planning and grocery shopping 
  • Stress management  
  • Communication skills  

Advocacy for Individuals with Disabilities

CRI provides Individual Advocacy, which is one-on-one advocacy in support of individuals with disabilities. We provide the services and supports necessary to assist people with disabilities in overcoming barriers. 
Through Systems Advocacy, CRI also advocates for the civil and human rights of people with disabilities by helping to change policies and priorities on local, state , and federal levels. Staff actively participate in consumer groups and are available to provide consultation and assistance for legislative and community civil rights and accessibility concerns. 

Peer Support & Counseling 

Peer support is a self-help support service in which a person with a disability assists other people with disabilities to manage, remove, or cope with their barriers. 
CRI also holds monthly Enabled Living and Consumer Wellness meetings at which all consumers are welcome to share their experiences and participate in activities that promote peer relationships. 

Transition Services for Individuals with Disabilities

CRI facilitates the transition of people with disabilities: 

  • From nursing homes and other institutions to home and community-based living 
  • Provides assistance to those at risk of entering an institution  
  • Facilitates the transition of youth with disabilities into higher education, the workforce, and the community

Accessibility Education 

Community Resources for Independence is dedicated to the independent living movement. Accessibility is a major obstacle that people with disabilities face on a daily basis. Center for Independent Living staff provides practical advice and training on issues involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We are more than willing to meet with business owners and municipalities to discuss the ADA and educate them on the importance of accessibility. Our society is still learning to welcome people with disabilities into the mainstream as productive individuals. CRI can help you be a part of that process! 

Counties Offered: Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Venango, and Warren. 

Assistive Technology 

Assistive technology refers to specialized devices for individuals with disabilities. With assistive technology, individuals with disabilities are able to perform functions that would have otherwise been difficult or impossible.   
With funding provided by TechOWL, a program run through Temple University, CRI is an Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) providing information & assistance.  
The TechOwl Program includes: Free Special Phones Program, The Reused and Exchanged Equipment Partnership, The Assistive Technology Lending Library, and the ICanConnect program. Learn more about TechOwl here.

Counties Offered: Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, Warren  

Attendant Care Program 

The Attendant Care Program allows individuals to remain in their home and community rather than in an institution, and to receive assistance with carrying out activities of daily living, self-care, and mobility. An individual can receive assistance with personal hygiene, transferring in and out of a wheelchair, meal preparation and eating, as well as household chores such as laundry and light cleaning. 
The Attendant Care Program is designed to assure that the consumer achieves and maintains independence. The consumer hires, trains, manages, and if necessary, dismisses the personal care attendant. Training and/or assistance is available in any area of attendant care management the consumer requests. 

Client Assistance Program (CAP) 

The Client Assistance Program (CAP) is an advocacy program for people with disabilities administered by the Center for Disability Law & Policy.​ CAP helps people who are seeking services from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Blindness and Visual Services, Centers for Independent Living, and other programs funded under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. CAP help is provided to you at no charge, regardless of income. The Pennsylvania Client Assistance Program is dedicated to ensuring that the rehabilitation system in Pennsylvania is open and responsive to your needs. CAP is Independent from OVR and Centers for Independent Living. CAP does not provide financial, housing , or medical benefits directly to individuals with disabilities. CAP will advocate on behalf of the individual needs of their clients! 

Pennsylvania Client Assistance Program: https://www.equalemployment.org/