Independent Living Centers in Wisconsin

Need help finding a personal care attendant? Looking for advice or support from someone with the same disability as you? Want to find an accessible form of recreation? All this and much more is available at your local independent living center.

Independent Living

Independent living can be considered a movement, a philosophy, or specific programs. In the context of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living (ACL), independent living programs are supported through funding authorized by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (the Act). Title VII, chapter 1 of the Act states the current purpose of the program is to “promote a philosophy of independent living including a philosophy of consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and individual and system advocacy, in order to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities, and the integration and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American society.”

Key provisions of the Act include responsibilities of the designated state entity (DSE), provisions for the statewide independent living councils (SILCs), requirements for the state plan for independent living (SPIL), and center for independent living standards and assurances.

To receive funding, states must jointly develop and submit a SPIL, which is a three-year plan for providing independent living services in the state. The DSE is the agency that, on behalf of the state, receives, accounts for, and disburses funds received under Subpart B of the Act. The Bureau of Aging and Disability Resources is the DSE and administers these contracts. For questions, please contact Lisa Sobczyk at 608-266-9354.

Independent Living Centers

Independent living centers (ILCs) are consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential private non-profit agencies that are designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities, and provide an array of independent living services. At a minimum, ILCs funded through a contract with the DSE are required to provide the following independent living core services:

  • Information and referral
  • IL skills training
  • Peer counseling
  • Individual and systems advocacy
  • Services that facilitate transition from nursing homes and other institutions to the community, provide assistance to those at risk of entering institutions, and facilitate transition of youth to postsecondary life.

Centers may also provide:

  • Psychological counseling.
  • Assistance in securing housing or shelter.
  • Personal assistance services.
  • Transportation referral and assistance.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Mobility training.
  • Rehabilitation technology.
  • Recreation.
  • Any other services necessary to improve the ability of individuals with significant disabilities to function independently in the family or community and/or to continue in employment.

Wisconsin independent living services are provided statewide. Find your local ILC.


The Wisconsin Client Assistance Program investigates and resolves complaints about services received or requested from independent living centers. The program can be reached at 800-362-1290 (voice and TTY).

State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL)

States wishing to receive funding for independent living programs are required to submit a three-year SPIL to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Community Living (ACL). In Wisconsin, the Independent Living Council of Wisconsin (ILCW) and directors of the eight ILCs work together to develop the SPIL. ICLW is an independent entity responsible for monitoring, reviewing, and evaluating the implementation of the SPIL.

Wisconsin's State Plan for Independent Living

State Plan for Independent Living 2017–2020 (PDF)

The SPIL encompasses the activities planned by the state to achieve its specified independent living objectives and reflects the state's commitment to comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements during the three years covered by the plan.​

Public Hearings on the SPIL

The purpose of these public hearings in January 2020, is to give the public an opportunity to provide input and present comments om the State Plan for Independent Living, Three-Year Plan for 2021–2023. Comments and feedback will be documented and, if possible, incorporated into the new SPIL.

Guidelines for the new SPIL have been issued by ACL and can be reviewed prior to the public hearings.

The State Independent Living Council (SILC) will also be sharing information about independent living and the SPIL. Specifically, the SILC wants to get feedback on the mission, goals, objectives, indicators, and underserved populations. You can review this information in advance of the public hearings. 

The Independent Living Council of Wisconsin is committed to full and equal access.

Please note—environmental and chemical sensitivities: for the safety and comfort of those with chemical and environmental sensitivities, ILCW asks that you do not use any perfumed products such as scented soaps, deodorants, perfumes, colognes, or heavily scented fabric softeners when attending ILCW-sponsored events. If you need a sign language interpreter, CART, alternate formats, or materials in another language to participate, please contact Michelle Harper at 608-206-1581. You must make your request at least 48 hours prior to the public hearing.

Public hearing on the new SPIL will be held:

  • January 14, 2020
    11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    540 S 1st Street
    Milwaukee, WI 53204
    Hearing will also be available via teleconference:
    • Telephone number: 1-866-503-4605
    • Teleconference code: 567-172-2609
  • January 21, 2020
    10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
    Options for Independent Living
    555 Country Club Road
    Green Bay, WI 54313
    Hearing will also be available via teleconference:
    • Telephone number: 929-205-6099
    • Meeting ID: 725-776-2515

If you are unable to attend these public hearings and would like to have input on the new SPIL related to the mission, goals, objectives, indicators, or underserved populations, comments can be submitted via:

  • Electronic survey
  • Written comments by mail to:
    Attn: New SPIL Comments
    3810 Milwaukee Street
    Madison, WI 53714

If you have questions or accessibility issues, please contact Michelle Harper, ILCW program coordinator, at 608-206-1581.

Last Revised: January 8, 2020