Giving the disabled the freedom to live
Wh a t d o e s C o a l i t i o n for Independent Living Options (CILO) do?
We provide free services to more than 5,000 families coping with di sabilities across five counties every year:
Ensure homebound seniors receive deliveries of nutritious food
Teach teens with disabilities how to get a job and their first apartment
Make sure spec ial needs children receive the exact instruction and therapy they need to thrive
Retrofit homes to make them safe and accessible (when we have funds)
Operate a food pantry for hungry families
Provide free taxi rides for dialysis patients
Operate after-school classes and a summer camp for youth with weekend food backpack programs
Sit in court with traumatized crime victims with di sabilities to guarantee they understand the proceedings and know their rights and then direct them to agencies to provide for their food and shelter
Guide and support h o mel e s s v e t e r a n s a n d o t h e r s who d o n’t k n ow where to turn until Social Security benefits are finally approved. How does your agency benefit the community?
CILO is laser-focused on helping people with disabilities get off the couch and into the workplace and the community. We show people how to thrive — not just get by.
Some examples of how we help the community:
Wi t h o u r b o a r d o f direc tors’ donations, we started a free pantry that gives more than 60 hungry families meat, vegetables, fruit, bread and canned and dr y goods monthly (our staff even make deliveries)
O u r s u mme r c a mp added a backpack program to send healthy food home to families for the weekend
Once again, the VITA s i t e we h o s t g e n e r a t e d a b o u t $ 2 mi l l i o n i n t a x refunds for struggling families this year. What is your agency’s focus for 2017?
Our 2017 focus is on expanding ser vices to struggling families, especially in minority communities, the southern and northern areas of Palm Beach County and ac ross the Treasure Coast. We’re turning part-time staff jobs into f ul l - t i me j obs s o we c a n assist more people and adding staff when we can get the funding.
This past year the CILO team helped at least 5,048 families coping with a disability – about 1,000 more than the year before across Pal m B e a c h, Marti n, S t . Luc i e , I ndi a n Rive r a nd Okeechobee counties. We are the second-largest center for independent living in Florida.
This spring the VITA site we h o s t p r e p a r e d h u n - dreds of t a x re t ur ns f or free for those with special needs and low incomes. Tens of thousands in fees were saved and close to $2 million in refunds generated. VITA gets the poorest of the poor the largest re f unds l e g a l ly possi bl e and protec ts them from predators, who often steal their refunds. United Way of Palm Beach County manages the VITA program, and CILO comprises its largest sites. How can the community help?
The community can help us by donating to help us give a bag of food to a hungry family, pay for a ride for a dialysis patient, build a ramp for someone in a wheelchair or send a group of teens on a field trip.
Become a partner in promoting independence for people with disabilities by b e c o ming a CI L O member and making a tax-free secure donation on its website at cilo.org or call 561966-4288. To promote independence for people with disabilities.
Members of the Coalition for Independent Living Options summer camp for youth stand near backpacks filled with healthy food to send home with families for the weekend. The organization added the backpack program to its summer camp as a recurring initiative.
Dan Shorter, CEO of Coalition for Independent Living Options