The Center for Independent Living in Central Florida
There are great independent living centers across the country, but if you live in the Orlando area, The Center for Independent Living in Central Florida is the independent living center for you. This independent living center helps people living in seven counties in Central Florida. They are Orange, Osceola, Seminal, Polk, Highlands, Hardee, and De Soto.
If you're not aware of what independent living centers do for people with spinal cord injuries, they are an oasis of disability information. If you have any questions related to living with your injury, ranging from finding caregivers to getting around your city using accessible transportation, an independent living center can help. They can also assist with helping you find employment, and they offer case managers.
What makes The Center for Independent Living in Central Florida special is their Foundations to Freedom program, a program that helps pay for home modifications for people with disabilities. This program is able to provide home modifications as well as adaptive equipment. To learn more about everything this program offers as well as other services provided by The Center for Independent Living in Central Florida, continue reading below.
Foundations to Freedom Program
The Foundations to Freedom program provides home modifications and adaptive equipment that ensures individuals with disabilities have a safe and accessible home and a way to access the community around them. Modifications and adaptive equipment are at no cost to the clients, however, people may be placed on a waiting list to receive services. "The wait time could be 1 week to 4 months depending on a piece of equipment or scope of home modification," says Brittany Pilcher, Developments Director of The Center for Independent Living in Central Florida.
The home modifications include ramps, grab bars, widened doorways, raised toilets, roll-in showers, but ramps by far are the most requested item. "Last year we installed 103 ramps," adds Pilcher. "We build and install ramps 3ft up to 40 ft. Mobile or manufactured homes sit a few feet off the ground, this is an affordable housing option for individuals with disabilities and seniors on a fixed income however it is not the most accessible option for housing.
“Through it, we go on a RAMPAGE specifically building ramps with corporate partners and volunteer groups. RAMPAGE is the ‘act’ of building the ramp. Ramps are made of aluminum and take 4-8 volunteers to assist working 4-6 hours.” “Having a ramp that leads from the front door to the sidewalk makes the home accessible. We are able to install ramps for people who rent a house or mobile home as long as they have signed permission from the homeowner/landlord. We do not install ramps at apartments."
As for the equipment this program provides, it includes a doorbell flasher, flashing smoke alarm, an alarm clock with bed shaker, walkers, shower chairs, potty chairs, manual and electric wheelchairs, and power scooters. 239 pieces of durable medical equipment or assistive technology have been given out. Next to ramps, grab bars were the most requested item.
Other Services Offered
The Center for Independent Living in Central Florida also offers an employment program called Aspire to Hire and it provides employment services. With securing employment an ongoing problem for people with disabilities across the country, this program has teamed up with the state of Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation program to offer services like pre-employment skills training, self-advocacy, peer mentoring.
"Individuals with disabilities often find themselves in underpaid jobs or unemployed altogether, surviving only on disability benefits,” says Pilcher. “Disability should never be a barrier to having a job. Aspire to Hire assists job seekers in identifying, magnifying, and leveraging their unique abilities to find and maintain inclusive, competitive, and meaningful employment.
And lastly, they offer their Community Inclusion program, which is part of their Case Management services. Their Community Inclusion program helps people with disabilities find and use resources and services that are appropriate to meet their goals, regardless of ability. This program offices services like advocacy training, how to apply for benefits, transitioning from a facility to back home, navigating the community, and skills training
If you have a disability and are in need of home modifications or adaptive equipment, and you live in Central Florida, please call 407-623-1070 and leave a message with your full name, address, contact number, and what service you are looking for. Someone will return your call within 48 hours. Otherwise, you can reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Learn more: https://www.cilorlando.org/events/rampage/
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Spinal Cord Team