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There are any number of ways to live independently, with appropriate services and supports, and be in community.  Segregation robs us of the opportunity to learn from one another’s life experience.  Segregating people with disabilities is even more harmful.  As Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsberg wrote in Olmstead v L.C.  527 U.S. 581, 601 (1999) such segregation

“severely diminishes [their] everyday life activities… including family relations, social contacts, work options, economic independence, educational advancement, and cultural enrichment.”

Whether the house or condo is owned or rented and regardless of who owns or rents it, it is not a home unless we make it one.  This is especially important for people who, perhaps due to mental health and related challenges, have experienced homelessness.

Challenges in transitioning to independent living

Transitioning to independent living can be especially challenging for people with disabilities.  The Texas Centers for Independent Living, funded through the federal Administration for Community Living, are supposed to provide an array of services for people with disabilities, filling gaps in state and federal services.  A December 2022 “ILS Study Report” by the Texas Health and Human Service Commission bragged that “Texas is the only state providing such a vast array of purchased services….” (page 7).  The difficulty, as the study admitted, is that in Fiscal Year 2021, the Centers for Assisted Living served perhaps one out of 1,078 Texans with a disability.  This seems to be in part because there are only 17 Centers for Independent Living physical offices and almost half of the people who could be served report that there are none in their area.  www.hhs.texas.gov/reports/2022/12/independent-living-services-study-report-fy-2022 

Potential Services for Independent Living Centers

Potential Center for Independent Living services include:

  • instruction in cooking and budgeting
  • peer and transition counseling
  • information and referrals
  • social opportunities
  • complex rehabilitation technology
    • vehicle modification
    • power wheelchairs
    • hearing aids
    • prosthetics
  • noncomplex services
    • durable medical equipment
    • orientation and mobility training
    • independent living service training for people with vision loss
    • communication devises.

List of Texas Independent Living Centers

State Plan for Independent Living – SPIL

Centers for Independent Living:

Austin Resource Center for Independent Living
825 East Rundberg Lane
Austin, TX 78753
Phone: 512-832-6349

Heart of Central Texas Independent Living
PO Box 636, 222 East Central Avenue
Belton, TX 76513
Phone: 254-933-7487

East Texas Center for Independent Living
4713 Troup Highway
Tyler, TX 75703
Phone: 903-581-7542

Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living
1537 Seventh Street
Corpus Christi, TX 78404
Phone: 361-883-8461

Coalition for Barrier Free Living/Houston Center for Independent Living (Ft. Bend)
6201 Bonhomme Road, Suite 150 South
Houston, TX 77036
Phone: 713-974-4621

Crockett Resource Center for Independent Living
1020 Loop 304 East
Crockett, TX 75835
Phone: 936-433-2811

Reach of Dallas
8625 King George Drive, Suite 210
Dallas, TX 79925
Phone:214-630-4796

VOLAR Center for Independent Living
1220 Golden Key Circle
El Paso, TX 79925

Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, CELA, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

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