Giv­ing the dis­abled the free­dom to live

The Palm Beach Post - Neighborhood Post - Southern Palm Beach County - - Front Page -

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 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

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