The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) is a Twin Cities metro-based, non-profit 501.c.3 consumer-directed organization founded in 1981. MCIL is dedicated to the full promotion of the Independent Living (IL) philosophy by supporting individuals with disabilities in their personal efforts to pursue self-directed lives. Being “consumer-directed” means that the majority of decision-making employees and members of our board of directors are individuals with disabilities. MCIL is committed to promoting this IL philosophy through innovative projects and direct services that meet the needs of MCIL consumers.
The Independent Living philosophy was created out of a 1970’s movement of self-advocates, individuals with disabilities, who desired greater personal control over the decisions being made for and about them. These advocates also saw a need for a separation in perception and reality from the medical model approach to service delivery that continued to see people with disabilities as dependent, subordinate and incapable of controlling their own lives.
All Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential, private nonprofit agencies for the provision of Independent Living services. There are more than 500 CILs in the United States, and numerous CILs all over the world. All CILs provide the following five IL core services:
- Information and referral
- Independent Living skills training
- Peer counseling and mentoring
- Individual and systems advocacy
- Services that facilitate Transition from nursing homes and other institutions to the community, provide assistance to those at risk of entering institutions, and facilitate transition of youth to postsecondary life
Specific programs at the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) provides include:
- Housing Referral Services
- Transition program for young adults with disabilities
- Consumer-directed Personal Attendant Services program
- Ramp and Home Modification Project
- Disability Linkage line: Information, referral and assistance call center
- Nursing Home Relocation: Assisting people in relocating from nursing homes and institutional settings
- IL/VR Collaboration: a special project that enables MCIL to place IL Specialist in each of the 13 metro area Workforce Centers and Vocational Rehabilitations Services locations, addressing the IL needs of individuals seeking employment supports
MCIL is also a fiscal agent and partner to the statewide ADA Minnesota project.
In a 1999 site visit/evaluation conducted by Rehabilitation Services Bureau, MCIL was described as having “the potential of becoming one the nation’s more notable and influential urban centers for independent living.”