McHENRY – The Lake County Center for Independent Living has opened a new office to serve the disabled in McHenry County.
LCCIL Executive Director Kelli Brooks said the new location at 5400 W. Elm St. had a “soft opening” in January.
The McHenry office replaces FITE Center for Independent Living, which closed last spring. FITE served McHenry, Kane and Kendall counties.
“The state asked us if we were interested in McHenry County, and our board decided yes, we would take this on,” Brooks said. The DuPage Center for Independent Living has absorbed services for Kane and Kendall counties, she said.
LCCIL is one of 22 Centers for Independent Living in the state. Brooks said LCCIL served more than 2,000 individuals in 2012.
LCCIL employs 18 people, who will split time between McHenry and the LCCIL office at 377 N. Seymour Ave., Mundelein.
Brooks said LCCIL, which was established in 1990, provides free services for individuals with disabilities in information and referral, advocacy, peer mentoring, and independent living. In addition, the office is a testing center for the ITAC program, which provides amplified phones for the hearing impaired.
Through the Community Reintegration Program. LCCIL staff works to place nursing home residents under 59˝ into their own homes in the community. Brooks said these individuals are able to live in the community once affordable/accessible housing is located and community supports are in place.
According to Amanda Swet, LCCIL community transition specialist, the Community Reintegration Program has saved the state more than $50 million since its inception. “The cost of residing in a nursing home as compared to in-home care is far less expensive,” she said in a press release.
The state invests approximately $2 million for the CRP program, according to the LCCIL.
“Not only is this program a benefit to taxpayers, but it also greatly benefits those individuals in the nursing home by allowing them to live in the community,” Swet said. “They are able to live the life they desire and are free to make everyday choices. The CRP program has and still improves the quality of life for those individuals that choose to participate in the program.”
Swet said the process begins with identifying potential consumers and meeting with them to determine eligibility. Once this is determined the information is turned over to liaisons at the Department of Human Services for final approval.
“If a consumer is approved we are able to provide services that will help them seek housing, providing furniture, groceries and structural modifications to assist in living independently,” Swet said.
“In addition, we work with the individual to obtain community support such as physical and mental health needs, transportation, energy assistance, etc..” Swet said.
Brooks said LCCIL is looking to hire part-time independent living advocates. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about programs offered by the LCCIL, call 847-949-4440, or visit www.LCCIL.org.