3410 W 12th St, Erie, PA 16505

Independent Living

What is Independent Living?

Most Americans take for granted opportunities they have -- regarding living arrangements, employment situations, means of transportation, social and recreational activities, and other aspects of everyday life.

For many Americans with disabilities, however, barriers in their communities take away or severely limit their choices. These individuals not only have to deal with the effects of their disabling conditions, but they also have to deal with barriers in their communities - such as lack of ramped entrances, interpreters, braille, etc. - and the misunderstandings and prejudices about disability. Otherwise, they are likely to be limited to a life of dependency and low personal satisfaction.

This need not occur. Millions of people all over America who experience disabilities have established lives of independence. They fulfill all kinds of roles in their communities, from employers and employees to marriage partners to parents to students to athletes to politicians to taxpayers -- an unlimited list. In most cases, the barriers they face haven't been removed, but these individuals have been successful in overcoming, or at least dealing with them.

A Definition of Independent Living

What is independent living? Essentially, it is living just like everyone else -- having opportunities to make decisions that affect one's life, able to pursue activities of one's own choosing -- limited only in the same ways that one's nondisabled neighbors are limited.

Independent living is 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 having the right and the opportunity to pursue a course of action. And, it is having the freedom to fail -- and to learn from one's failures, just as nondisabled people do.

There are, of course, individuals who have certain mental impairments which may affect their abilities to make complicated decisions or pursue complex activities. For these individuals, independent living means having every opportunity to be as self-sufficient as possible.

Self-determination is having the right and the opportunity to pursue any course of action. It is being free to fail and to learn from those failures, in the same way as people without disabilities.


Independent Living Centers

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

These organizations, called independent living centers, are extraordinary: they are run by people with disabilities who themselves have been successful in establishing independent lives. These people have both training and the personal experience to know exactly what is needed to live independently and, they have a deep commitment to assisting other disabled people in becoming more independent.

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ARE YOU READY FOR A HELPING HAND?

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.

GET STARTED 

Community Resources for Independence is a Center for Independent Living (CIL)

CRI is one of more than 400 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 

5 Core Services

As a Center for Independent Living, CRI is responsible for providing 5 Core Services to consumers who call in to request assistance.  However, we do not stop there!   We offer several other services on top of the 5 Core Services.

Information & Referral  

CRI is a point of contact for people with disabilities, family members, and the community who are seeking resources and/or services. Through information and referral we offer assistance in obtaining available services and resources as well as guidance on how to access potential services and products.

Advocacy

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 the 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 community integration and peer relationships.

Independent Living Skills  

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 (IL) simply means having 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

Transition Services

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

 

Resources

More Services

CRI offers a lot more than the 5 Core Services! If you are interested in any of the following, please contact CRI today!

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!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 (AT)

AT is any device used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities, allowing them to live independently in their home or in the community. With funding provided by TechOWL, a program run through Temple University, CRI is an Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) providing information & assistance to consumers looking for Assistive Technology that might increase their independence. Items can be obtained through the Telecommunication Device Distribution Program (TDDP) and Assistive Technology Lending Library.

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

Transportation for the Elderly in Erie, PA

CRI provides door-to-door transportation for eligible consumers living in Erie County. Please click here for more information.

We also assist people with finding and enrolling in paratransit services.

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

Community Integration

CRI provides people with opportunities to interact with others in the community. Whether it be a support group, our monthly Consumer Wellness Meetings, or our annual consumer appreciation picnic, we urge everyone to get out to enjoy the company of their peers and participate in community events that we offer as we feel this is important for everyone’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

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

Housing Assistance

CRI Case Managers provide assistance with applications and communications necessary to obtain affordable, accessible housing.

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

Emergency Preparedness

CRI provides consumers with the tools and resources needed to remain safe and prepared for anything.

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

Employment Services

CRI can help consumers prepare for the workforce by offering assistance with resume development, completing applications, and with interview preparation.

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

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

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 services such as 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.