In 1980, Curative Workshop Rehabilitation Center (CWRC)
applied for and received a grant from the State of Wisconsin to provide
independent living services to people with disabilities and those who are older
in Northeast Wisconsin. The initial name
was the Independent Living Program (ILP).
The ILP was the fourth Independent Living Center in Wisconsin. The philosophy of the ILC’s was consumer
The following is a chronological list of activities and key
elements in the evolution of IL Services provided by Options for Independent Living.
1980 - 1981
- Staff was hired, including: a Program Director, Peer Counselor, Independent Living Skills Coordinator and Program Secretary.
- The first ILP Advisory Council was formed and began meeting regularly.
- Services provided were the core services of all ILC’s: Advocacy (systems & Individual), peer support, IL Skills Training and Information & Referral (I & R).
- The service area included the following: Brown, Calumet, Door, Kewaunee, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano and Winnebago Counties.
- As this was a completely new concept in service delivery, staff embarked on extensive outreach activities to County human / social service agencies, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation staff, hospital rehabilitation departments and other similar potential referral Agencies.
- The primary disability groups served were people with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy and stroke.
- There were two immediately identified barriers to independent living. These were the severe lack of affordable, accessible housing alternatives and financial assistance for personal care services.
- Entered into a collaborative agreed with St. Elizabeth Hospital Rehabilitation Center to open an outreach office within the hospital. In addition to working with patients on the Rehab Unit, this office would serve the southern portion of Options geographic area
- The Wisconsin ILC’s, including Options, received added one-time inflation increase in the budget.