Disability, Diversity, and Intersectionality in Centers for Independent Living: Nine Case Studies

Publication Information

About the Project

Independent Living Research Utilization has been taking a look at what CILs are doing around disability, diversity, and intersectionality through a project funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services. The objective of the project is to shine a light on some of the effective approaches that are making a difference in diverse communities across the country. ILRU has identified nine CILs that demonstrate progress in services, programs, and outreach for racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse groups. The CILs were nominated by their peers and participated in in-depth case studies which are summarized in the following pages.

The study was conducted in collaboration with Public Research and Evaluation Services utilizing a three-phase process that included a focus group, key informant interviews, and discussions with CILs. The 38 nominated CILs were narrowed down to the nine selected by a panel of reviewers.

All nine centers expressed reluctance about being seen as “exemplary” but chose to share their stories, understanding that what they are sharing is about the progress on an ongoing journey. Although the initiatives vary from center to center, there were some significant commonalities that have relevance for all centers for independent living:

  • Show unconditional respect.
  • Have objectivity.
  • Step outside the box.
  • Ask for input and listen.
  • Avoid assumptions.
  • Take the time that is necessary to connect.
  • Staff the right people.

For more information on the Disability, Diversity, and Intersectionality in CILs project, see https://www.ilru.org/projects/cil-diversity.

For more information on the nine centers selected, see https://www.ilru.org/projects/cil-diversity/case-studies.