Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC) is a cross-disability, intergenerational, and multicultural disability justice organization that creates fully inclusive communities that value the dignity, equality, freedom, and worth of every human being. We do this by building disability identity, culture, and pride; creating opportunities for personal and community transformation; and partnering with others to ensure that civil and human rights are protected.
SVILC was founded in 1976 by a small group of people with disabilities as an Independent Living Center (ILC) to serve the needs of Santa Clara County residents with disabilities. Independent Living is both a philosophy and a goal that people with disabilities should have the same civil rights, options, and control over their lives as people without disabilities. As one of 29 consumer-driven, non-residential ILCs in California, and over 400 across the nation, SVILC is a private nonprofit organization where over 70% of the 29 highly-skilled staff and 14 board members are persons with disabilities who have an intimate understanding of disability issues.
Our diverse programs and services address the comprehensive needs that individuals with disabilities have when attempting to gain or increase their independence. Our programs and services include four basic or core programs that all ILCs across the nation provide; we also provide additional services that have been added in response to community need.
The four core programs are: (1) Advocacy, both systems advocacy and teaching consumers self-advocacy skills; (2) Independent Living Skills training, meeting the individual needs of consumers who choose to live independently; (3) Information and Referral, ensuring that consumers with needs beyond what SVILC can provide are served; and (4) Peer Counseling, providing mentorship and training for people with disabilities from people with disabilities.
We also provide: (1) Assistive Technology (AT) services, showing people with disabilities the available technology that can help them succeed both at home and work; (2) Housing and Personal Assistant (PA) services, assisting with everything from direct housing referral/placement to how to hire/manage an in-home personal assistant; (3) Youth Leadership Program, which instills a sense of pride and community in youth with disabilities and identifies emerging leaders in the local disability community; and (4) The Olmstead Transitions Program, working with individuals to transition from nursing homes and long-term care facilities into community-based housing. Even with state provided personal care assistants in the home, independent living results in a net savings to tax payers compared to the same consumer living in a skilled nursing facility.