Centers offer a wide variety of services. Five are essential to efforts of people with
disabilities to live independently, including:
Information and ReferralCenters maintain comprehensive information files on availability in their communities of accessible housing; transportation; employment opportunities; rosters of persons available to serve as personal care attendants, interpreters for hearing impaired people, or readers for visually impaired people; and many other services.
Independent Living Skills TrainingCenters provide training courses to help people with disabilities gain skills that would enable them to live more independently; courses may include using various public transportation systems, managing a personal budget, dealing with insensitive and discriminatory behavior by members of the general public, and many other subjects.
Peer MentoringCenters offer a service in which a person with a disability can work with other persons who have disabilities and who are living independently in the community. The objective is to explore options and to solve problems that sometimes occur for people with disabilities, for example, making adjustments to a newly acquired disability, experiencing changes in living arrangements, or learning to use community services more effectively.
AdvocacyCenters provide two kinds of advocacy:
(1) consumer advocacy, which involves center staff working with persons with disabilities to obtain necessary support services from other agencies in the community and (2) community advocacy, which involves center staff, board members, and volunteers initiating activities to make changes in the community that make it easier for all persons with disabilities to live more independently.