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Independent Living

Center for Living & Working helps people with disabilities learn to live more independently. Independent Living (IL) Skills Trainers provide one-to-one services to individuals throughout Central Massachusetts.

The five core services are Information and Referral, Peer Support, Skills Training, Advocacy, and Transition.

Information and Referral

Information and referral (I&R) services are provided to people with disabilities, family members, services providers, and the community in response to specific requests. When working with IL Skills Trainer, consumers learn about the options, benefits and services provided by local, state and national organizations. Information is available on a variety of disability related subjects such as the ADA, advocacy, daily living skills, housing, recreation, etc.

The staff has expertise and experience with Social Security benefits, vocational and community services from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, MassHealth, Housing Authorities, elder services, PCA programs and other benefits and services available to people with disabilities. IL Skills Trainers work with consumers to make and follow a plan to resolve an issue, receive a benefit or service, or achieve a goal. If a target agency requires a referral or meeting, Center for Living & Working provides the information and support as needed.

Peer Support

One-on-one peer mentoring helps people with disabilities develop mutual support, assistance, confidence and understanding. Center for Living & Working provides peer support in a consumer-directed manner over the telephone, in person at the center, or at a consumer’s living site.

Our staff have been trained in the philosophies and practices of independent living and communicate these strategies to consumers in peer support interactions. Some staff members have personal experience with disabilities and share their insights with other staff members and consumers.

Skills Training

Our Staff provide Skills Training to consumers to develop Independent Living skill in areas such as:

personal care

coping skills

financial management

social skills

household management

Skills Training also includes education and training necessary for living in the community and participating in community events.


Advocacy means teaching a person how to obtain goals that may include issues such as housing, mobility or education. We encourage consumers to be assertive, articulate and effective when faced with obstacles to independent living goals. And when needed, the staff will support an individual’s rights in their community by filing complaints and taking action as needed to remove illegal barriers or obtain services.

Systems Advocacy is the development and revision of policies that promote accessibility through the removal of discriminating practices. Center for Living & Working participates in events and actions to advance community awareness and to advocate for continuous improvements. Community Advocacy includes working with municipalities, businesses and service providers to address discrimination and barriers in our society and to enforce compliance with existing laws.


Center for Living & Working is ready to assist individuals residing in institutional settings such as: nursing homes, hospitals, of intermediate care facilities to return to living independently in their community with the necessary services and supports for a greater quality of life.

The Nursing Home Initiative and Transitional Assistance are two services aimed at achieving this. Aligned with Massachusetts’ commitment to “Community First”, Center for Living & Working supports residents of Massachusetts of all ages and disabilities offering additional support services so the individual can successfully return to living within their community for as long as they choose.

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