The Freedom Center is a walk-in center for independent living (CIL) that is consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, and nonresidential. It is a private, nonprofit agency. It is designed and operated within the local community by individuals with disabilities and provides an array of independent living (IL) services. A majority of the Center’s staff and Board of Directors are persons living with a disability. The Center is a membership organization to underscore its being consumer-controlled.
Our mission is to provide services and supports to empower individuals with disabilities to lead self-directed, independent, and productive lives in a barrier–free community.
The philosophy of the Freedom Center is to promote equal access to independent living through consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and individual as well as systems advocacy. This philosophy will maximize leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities as well as promote and maximize the integration and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American society. People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable when physical and attitudinal barriers are limiting them to being labeled as “special” or being held captive in a segregated setting. There is a real need to remove these physical and attitudinal barriers and to promote and enhance the integration and full inclusion of people with disabilities into the mainstream of our communities. Individuals with disabilities need to be included in the fabric of American life.
The following are our principles of service:
- Consumer control: We are guided and controlled by consumer involvement at all levels of responsibility in the organization. This assures that consumer interests will be followed in achieving community integration, self-determination, and equal human rights.
- Consumer need-based: We asses consumer need and service resources within our service area in order to assure our programs are responsive to, and reflective of those needs.
- Individualized services: Individual consumer’s independent living plans and services are designed and arranged with full consumer participation and service flexibility in order to optimally meet consumer aspirations and needs.
- Community-based programs: Through an integrated community setting and interaction with others, persons with disabilities have the best opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes with which to participate and thrive in the community. We encourage and facilitate the use of community services by consumers rather than providing competing or segregated services. All sponsored activities are located in environments used and accessed by all citizens, to the fullest extent possible.
- Least restrictive environment: We provide and facilitate services in the least restrictive environment. This includes training in residential, social, recreational, and personal development. This optimizes the conditions for acquiring, maintaining, and utilizing specific skills of daily and community living that is part of the expected behavioral repertoire of all community members.
- Equal opportunity: Through functioning as a Center for Independent Living in the community for all persons with disabilities, we focus on providing information, knowledge, support, and resources needed to live, work, and create alongside their peers.