Building a stronger voice for Iowans with disabilities…
To strengthen the voice of Iowans with disabilities on issues affecting their lives, to build a statewide network of centers for independent living, and to collaborate with our partners in advancing the independence, productivity, and full inclusion of Iowans with disabilities.
The Iowa Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) is a council where the majority of members are persons with disabilities. The role of the Council is to plan for the coordination and expansion of independent living services in Iowa.
The Iowa Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) is a federally mandated, Governor-appointed Council that is an independent non-profit corporation. The majority of SILC members are persons with disabilities who do not work for a Center for Independent Living (CIL), or a State agency.
Under the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the SILC has the responsibility to plan, in collaboration with the CILs, for the coordination and expansion of independent living services in Iowa, and to promote the development of a statewide network of Centers for Independent Living (CILs).
This includes collaborating with the CILs and other partners to advocate for the services and resources that individuals with disabilities need to be able to live independently, in the community of their choice, and not be forced to live in an institution such as a nursing home.
The Iowa Independent Living Network is comprised of:
The SILC does not provide any direct services to individuals with disabilities, but their partners, the CILs, IVRS, and IDB, do provide direct services. The SILC and the CILs are also responsible for developing the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) every three years.
The SILC operates on very limited federal funding, and there are times when that funding is not enough to cover the activities that are needed to further the SILC Mission. Here is one example.
The SILC Activity
The SILC, as part of one of the goals in the 3-year SPIL, also works to engage young adults with disabilities, as well as others with disabilities, in developing leadership. The SILC has recruited young adults to become members of the SILC, and has also worked to provide leadership and advocacy training opportunities to all individuals with disabilities (also known as Consumers) who are interested.
In 2019 the SILC provided funding for Consumers to attend three different leadership and advocacy training opportunities at the state, regional, and national levels. Funds were used for registration, mileage/bus fare/airfare, ground transportation, hotel, personal assistant salary, powerchair rental, and any other accommodations that were needed for individuals to attend these trainings. Over 20 Consumers attended these trainings. The SILC also collaborated with the TWC and SOAR Conferences to provide additional partner funding to pay for speakers at these conferences.
The Results of the SILC Activity
As a result of these trainings, a core group of Consumers who attended these trainings have come together to start the process of developing a statewide coalition. The Iowa Coalition On Disability Inclusivity and Advocacy (ICODIA) is a Consumer-led statewide Coalition comprised of Iowans with disabilities and their allies. The Coalition holds monthly Zoom meetings to discuss issues that are important to individuals with disabilities and the disability community at large, and to discuss action steps that members can take on specific issues. ICODIA provides training on leadership and advocacy skills to any interested party, and partners with other organizations who can provide funding for Iowans with disabilities to attend leadership and advocacy trainings in Iowa, regionally, and at the national level.
There is no funding for ICODIA at the present time, and the Leadership Team are all Iowans with disabilities who volunteer their time. The SILC will not have enough funding to be able to pay real-time captioners for every meeting and training, nor will it have enough funding to pay for the costs of every Consumer who wishes to attend a State, regional, or national leadership and advocacy training. More funds need to be raised to assist ICODIA with their mission of providing leadership and advocacy training and opportunities so Iowans with disabilities will have a voice and be included in all aspects of society.