The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) is a statewide, not-for-profit membership association created by and composed of Independent Living Centers across New York State. NYAIL's mission is improving the quality of life, safeguarding the rights, and ensuring equal opportunities for all people with disabilities, as well as promoting the Independent Living philosophy both within the disability community and to the public. NYAIL provides programs in three interlocking areas: public policy and systems change, technical assistance and membership programs to strengthen New York State's Independent Living Centers, and public education about Independent Living and the services and supports needed by people with disabilities to live in the community. NYAIL seeks in all its activities to remove barriers to the independence, inclusion, and integration of people with disabilities in New York.
Independent Living Centers are unique disability-led, cross-disability, locally administered not-for-profit organizations, providing advocacy and supports to assist people with disabilities of all ages to live independently and fully integrated in their communities. ILCs have served as the voice of the disability rights movement in New York since its inception more than two decades ago. We assist individuals in navigating complex service systems and advocate to ensure access to their chosen services and supports. Core programs include information and referral services, peer counseling, individual and systems advocacy, and independent living skills training. Other services vary from center to center but generally include: assistance with housing, education, employment, medical needs and personal attendant services.
ILCs have been transitioning and diverting people from institutions for more than 20 years and have played a critical role in implementing the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Medicaid waiver program, with five ILCs serving as the NYS Department of Health funded Regional Resource Development Centers (RRDC) for the waiver, and many others providing waiver services. Data from the New York State Education Department, ACCES-VR, show that the work of ILCs to transition and divert people with disabilities from costly institutional placements saved the State more than $1 billion since 2001 as a result of avoided institutional care. In addition, NYAIL and ILCs are helping the state rebalance the long term care system through the federally funded NYS Department of Health's Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration (MFP). NYAIL is working to increase accessible, affordable, integrated housing for seniors and people with disabilities, while ILCs are identifying and assisting individuals in nursing facilities who wish to live in the community.