The Boston Center for Independent Living is a front line civil rights organization led by people with disabilities that advocates to eliminate discrimination, isolation and segregation by providing advocacy, information and referral, peer support, skills training, PCA services, and transitional services in order to enhance the independence of people with disabilities.
What services does your organization provide?
BCIL is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has provided services to people with disabilities since 1974, when it became the second independent living center in the country. The organization was created by people with disabilities seeking full integration into society. BCIL accomplishes this by empowering people of all ages with a wide range of disabilities with the practical skills and self-confidence to take control over their lives and become active members of the communities in which they live. At the same time, BCIL engages in advocacy and community organizing to promote access and change within society.
BCIL provides the five "core services" of independent living centers:
BCIL’s individual services and systemic advocacy address a number of areas critical to people with disabilities, including housing, healthcare, employment, long-term care, transportation, adaptive technology, communications, civil rights law, and education. In keeping with the disability rights slogan “Nothing about us without us,” 70% of our staff and board are people with disabilities. We bring both personal and professional experience to our work – we know the disability community, we are the disability community. Since 1974, BCIL has empowered persons with disabilities to become more independent while advocating for their rights on the local, state, and federal levels. We rallied around the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. This legislation is the foundation of our efforts to improve municipal access in the city of Boston, and the basis for our settlement with the MBTA to create system-wide accessibility. We have also worked to pass legislation that will create better working conditions for PCAs and programs that generate more affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities throughout Greater Boston.
Promoting greater independence for people with disabilities is BCIL’s mission. We strive to ensure access to the mainstream community, and our advocacy work fundamentally relates to personal health, human dignity, family stability and one’s ability to contribute to society. BCIL champions giving people a collective say in the decisions affecting their lives. Our independent living services are consumer-controlled, and we believe that people with disabilities must, whenever possible, unite to speak out on larger issues that affect their lives, such as housing, health care, and transportation access. We advocate for full compliance of the American with Disabilities Act from the city of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, ensuring that those with disabilities enjoy rights and opportunities on an equal basis with those without disabilities. BCIL’s goals may be ambitious, but we have the energy, commitment, experience and passion to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in greater Boston and across Massachusetts.
How many people does your organization reach?
BCIL serves 34 towns and cities in the Greater Boston area reaching well over 5,000 people with disabilities yearly.
How are donations used?
Donations are used to support the advocacy work and general work of BCIL.
BCIL is an organization who’s staff and board of directors are made up of over 70% people with disabilities. We feel we know the disability community because we are the community too.