Feature: Social Goodness

Mile High Independent Living Center Opens Doors To Disabled

Author: Tim Paynter
Published: December 12, 2012 at 5:45 am

The Mile High Independent Living Center in Denver, Colorado, opened it's doors recently, with a self stated mandate to help under-served communities. Independent Living Centers (ILC's) are non-profit organizations which form a safety net for people living with disabilities. As a general philosophy, ILC's believe people are happiest making their own decisions rather than depending upon an administrator.


 Each ILC set's it's own operating plan which is divided between information and referral, independent living skills, peer counseling, assistance in finding housing and employment and advocacy. How the centers go about reaching those goals is what distinguishes each center. While the centers are funded by state and federal funds, some centers rely upon grants and donations, as well.  The Mile High Independent Living Center does not charge for their services.

The Mile High Independent Living Center seeks to reach the African American and Latino communities while continuing to provide services to all disabled people in an 8 county area of Colorado.  Many people in the Latino community are living in the shadows because they fear our government. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects all disabled people regardless of status.

Board member of MHILC Brandon Williams and facility Director, Adrian Villasenor


What services does the new Center offer? They don't provide housing, but they do help people find and stay in current housing. For example, if the civil relationship between Landlord and Tenant has fallen apart, the Center will step in and smooth the feathers when possible. Sometimes a letter from an advocate is all that is needed to solve problems. In other cases, it is a matter of helping clients face difficult realities

“One client was being evicted but was demanding a bigger home,” said Adrian Villasenor, the Center's Director of Operations. Villasenor indicated the client was not able to continue in his present job and was not willing to consider skill training for a new job.  

 "Sometimes people come in so frustrated by the system they are unable to be reasonable.  Our job is to help them navigate that system, to advocate for them and to help them make a workable plan so they have more control over their destinies".

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Article Author: Tim Paynter

Tim Paynter is an attorney and human rights activist based in Denver, Colorado. He is a tireless fighter for abused women, children at risk, those ravaged by poverty, and those fighting for dignity in the United States.

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