The Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living (NWVCIL) was established in 1993 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocacy resource center for persons with disabilities and the community in which they live. NWVCIL’s mission is to educate and empower communities and people with disabilities so everyone has equal opportunity and freedom of choice; and to eliminate housing discrimination to create equal housing opportunity for all, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability. Our core service area covers 13 predominantly rural counties in North Central West Virginia and its staff provide individual and systems advocacy, peer support, independent living skills training, transition services, and information and referral services to individuals with disabilities.
NWVCIL first partnered with the WV Foundation for Rape Information and Services (WVFRIS) in 2006 on 3-year grant from DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women to build a more inclusive response system for survivors with disabilities who have experienced sexual violence. Through this work, NWVCIL provided technical assistance and training to response and prevention networks and became a member of two county response teams. NWVCIL also provided input on the state’s response protocol for sexual violence to ensure that the needs of victims with disabilities are represented. NWVCIL’s executive director also served on the state’s Key Players team, represented the disability community during the development of West Virginia’s State Plan for Prevention, and serves as co-chair for the National Council for Independent Living subcommittee on Violence and Abuse.To address the barrier that a dearth of safe, community-based, integrated, accessible, and affordable housing creates, NWVCIL has worked to become a private fair housing enforcement entity. NWVCIL’s Fair Housing Action Network is funded by HUD to fight housing discrimination while promoting compliance with the Federal Fair Housing Act, and NWVCIL’s Community Living Services Program successfully obtained a $620,000 grant for home modifications that increases our consumers’ ability to age safely in place.