About Our Staff
The mission of the Harlem Independent Living Center (HILC) assists the communities of people with disabilities in achieving optimal independence through culturally and linguistically appropriate services by advocating, educating, empowering and being a community change catalyst.
Reaching the full potential of an accessible community.
History of the Harlem Independent Living Center
Prior to May 1990, Harlem’s disabled individuals were denied easy access to independent living services provided elsewhere in New York City. Based on a commitment to provide access to independent living services to these un-served and underserved individuals and to expand the system of independent living available to all New Yorkers, the Harlem Independent Living Center was incorporated on May 31, 1990.
The Center was initially organized under the guidance of individuals from the Harlem Hospital Center, the Building Bridges Rehabilitation Task Force, the office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) formally New York State Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID), and others. HILC was established pursuant to a US Rehabilitation Services Administration Title VII Part B grant. VESID monitors and oversees the implementation of this grant to ensure its’ programs are responsive to consumer needs.
The Center’s objective is to provide an array of independent living services to persons with disabilities to increase their ability to function independently within their community. The Center is a community- based, non- residential, non- medical consumer- controlled organization which providing a “peer” approach to services: i.e. a place where people with disabilities frequently assist other disabled persons.