Published April 15, 2014
Volume 22, Number 4

Local Group Lends Hand for Independent Living


By Zoe Francis

Numerous useful services are available to low-income people with disabilities, complete with assistance to help people navigate the system.
Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL) is a nonprofit group that helps people in need find the services and support to help them live independently.
“It is an independent living center formed in 1979 in Alameda County by people with disabilities,” Amy Mauldin, of the group’s Livermore office, explained. “We provide services and advocacy free of charge.”
The only requirement is that the person seeking help must be low income and have a disability, whether it is temporary or permanent.
In the expensive Bay Area, low income could mean someone earning as much as $40,000 a year, depending on the size of the family. The types of disabilities covered include physical, emotional, cognitive, learning and much more.
“We work with a wide range of people, from young all the way up to seniors,” Mauldin said. “Most of the senior citizens have functional disabilities.”
Mauldin specializes in independent living and travel training. The latter is a relatively new service that helps people navigate the area’s many forms of public transportation.
“Many of our consumers have never driven or they no longer drive, so I teach them how to use the various transportation services to help them stay living independently in the community,” Mauldin said. “As the independent living coordinator, it’s just trying to promote whatever services people need to continue to live independently in this community.”
CRIL is based in Hayward with satellite offices in Fremont and Livermore, which serves people in Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin. The group relies on grants and donations for funding. There is no charge for services.
“We get a lot of referrals,” Mauldin said, noting that most referrals come from physicians and mental health therapists. “We also do outreach.”
People who seek help from CRIL get an assessment that lasts 45 minutes to an hour. Someone like Mauldin will ask multiple questions to determine the type of support and advocacy that person needs.
“We really can be the first step in helping them know what their rights are and how to fill out an application for benefits,” she said. “If they’re receiving no help, we can be a strong advocate for them.”
The assistive technology loan program is a new service that offers devices to aid people with disabilities. The loan program offers everything from canes and wheelchairs to hearing devices and modified keyboards.
“It’s a really good service that’s not being utilized enough,” Mauldin said. “They’re loaners just like going to a library and checking out a book. You can use it and decide if it helps you before you go out and spend your own money. That’s a really exciting program we have.”
CRIL’s Livermore office is located near city hall with easy access to multiple agencies, making it easy for Mauldin and her colleagues to get help for clients.
“We care, and we really go the extra mile,” she said. “It’s good to know what services are out there. You can be disabled and have a good independent life. We’re proving it.”
Learn more about the multitude of services and support offered by CRIL by visiting crilhayward.org. You may also make a tax-deductible donation online at the CRIL website.


Also in this issue...