Empowering Virginians with Disabilities through Centers for Independent Living
December 2021 | Issue 10
Celebrating a year of CIL impact
As 2021 comes to a close, this issue reflects on the many ways CILs across Virginia have made an impact supporting leadership, empowerment, independence, productivity, access, and inclusion for people with disabilities over the past year.

The results? More Virginians with disabilities meeting their independent living goals and more inclusive communities across the commonwealth.
CIL Success Stories
CILs receive vaccine access grants

Disability Rights and Resource Center in Rocky Mount and Independence Resource Center in Charlottesville received grants from the Disability Vaccine Access Opportunities Center to support vaccine access for people with disabilities.

This funding aims to improve access to COVID-19 vaccines for people with disabilities by:
  • providing peer counseling about the benefits and importance of having vaccinations
  • assisting individuals to find an accessible location where they may secure vaccinations
  • working with local health departments to arrange in-home vaccinations for those unable to travel safely
  • providing education to partner agencies to improve awareness and improve vaccine access
Transition services aid in community living

Resources for Independent Living (RIL) in Richmond, like other CILs across Virginia, provides transition services to assist people with disabilities in nursing homes to move back into community living.

RIL worked with an older Virginian and her family to support this transition. Working with the consumer, who wanted to move out of a nursing home for fear of contracting COVID, RIL staff helped locate an affordable unit close to her family and facilitate needed accessibility modifications.
She now has an accessible bathroom and lives comfortably in her new unit. RIL also provided her with a laptop computer and assisted her in scheduling and completing tele-health visits so she could have remote access to medical professionals.
AIC advocates for consumer's housing insecurity

The pandemic has exacerbated social isolation and anxiety for many people with disabilities across Virginia. Appalachian Independence Center (AIC) in Abingdon supported a consumer in managing these issues and moving forward with his goal to remedy his housing insecurity. 

AIC staff describes, a man with Parkinson’s disease and anxiety disorder had his friend contact AIC in hopes to secure an accessible, safe and affordable rental place. He lived in the house owned by his family and they decided to sell the home, giving him just a few months’ notice. Luckily, a friend agreed to let him stay in their apartment while AIC explored optimal housing options, reached out to local housing authorities and other agencies that address homelessness.

Due to his anxiety, he had difficulty communicating and asked AIC staff to take a more directive role. Having done some research and brainstorming, he narrowed down his search and AIC offered guidance with the application process to ensure appropriate completion and submission of his applications.

AIC frequently followed up with the property managers to keep up with the fast-paced nature of rental properties until finally, a rental unit that matched our search, became available and the consumer was able to move in within weeks of checking the place out and signing his lease agreement. “He is very happy to have his own home and not having to worry about finding a good place to live,” shares Steve Halley, AIC Executive Director.
BRILC supports family's first home purchase
A consumer’s family wanted to purchase their first home. They had been renting and saving money and their son is in the CCC+ waiver. The mortgage company they were working with insisted that only information coming from the fiscal agent would be acceptable household income. The family was unable to persuade the fiscal agent to provide the needed documentation. Blue Ridge Center for Independent Living (Roanoke) staff advocated with the fiscal agent to ensure that correct information was given to the mortgage company.
They were finally able to buy a house! The consumer will be 18 soon. The family’s purchase of the house will allow him to have his own space in the basement where he will learn the skills necessary for independent living. He will pay rent while he attends college and works after graduating from high school. Not only is the consumer going to be able to learn the skills necessary for independent living but the family is building personal wealth due to home equity. 
Update on consumer spotlight

New River Valley Disability Resource Center in Radford shared a spotlight on their consumer Sharon in January 2021. At that time, Independent Living Coordinator Jocelyn Pruitt worked with Sharon on a 502 loan application for USDA, but Sharon was found ineligible for the loan.

Jocelyn continued to work with Sharon to assist her in finding safe, adequate housing. During the course of the year, Jocelyn learned that despite the significant waiting list at HUD, they planned to accept housing voucher applications for a very brief period. Jocelyn and Sharon met during the first day of the application period. Jocelyn assisted Sharon in completing and submitting an application.

Sharon recently reported to Jocelyn that her application was approved. She is currently seeking appropriate housing and expects to move soon!