Resources for Independent Living, Inc. traces its history in part to a group of college students with severe disabilities in Berkeley, California in the late 1960’s. This group, led by Ed Roberts assumed the responsibility for assisting individuals with severe disabilities to obtain housing services, transportation, and personal care attendance. Ed started the first Center for Independent Living and is generally considered to be the “father of independent living.” Empowerment of the consumer was and remains a fundamental policy in all such centers across the country. Please refer to our “History of ILM” tab for more details on the beginnings of the Independent Living movement.
The growth and effectiveness of these advocates drew attention to the need to acknowledge and preserve the rights of persons with disabilities. After many years of dedicated work by numerous individuals and groups, Congress passed the new “Rehabilitation Act of 1973”. Section 504 of this act prohibited discrimination against individuals with disabilities under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
In 1979, funding was made available for the establishment of ten Centers for Independent Living (CILs) geographically scattered across the country. There are now over 400 CILs in the United States. In maintaining the integrity of the original legislation, we are a consumer run organization.
RIL was established in December, 1982, and like every other CIL, we offer 5 Core Services. Additionally and also like every other CIL, we offer a comprehensive list of additional services that reflect the unique needs of our community. Our mission is to assist individuals with disabilities to live independently and to encourage community change to support options and opportunities. Toward that goal, we provide distinct and comprehensive, outcome-based services that support individuals with disabilities in our region.
There’s a saying that “if you’ve seen one CIL then you’ve seen one CIL.” Each CIL reflects the unique personality of its community and meets consumers where they’re at. Please refer to the Programs and Services tab for a complete listing of services offered at this center.
Resources for Independent Living Inc. serves persons with disabilities in the counties of Charles City, Dinwiddie, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan, Prince George and the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg and Richmond. This catchment area is one of the largest in the state and includes over 1 million residents. The center operates out of its main office in Richmond and also has a satellite office in Petersburg. We are hopeful that at some point the Petersburg satellite will convert to a fully autonomous CIL. RIL belongs to the Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living (VACIL), a statewide network of Centers for Independent Living.