The ability to live independently fills us with a sense of dignity. The ability to live independently can be compromised by a number of challenges: phsyical and developmental disabilities, mental illness, and aging. For others, the need to enter or re-enter the community as a refugee, low-income youth, veteran, domestic violence victim, or ex-offender brings barriers and challenges to housing and employment that are unique to each situation. For others, the recovery and rehabilitation from physical injury, mental illness crisis, or chemical dependency is long and requires the development of new life skills to maintain independence.
United Way has historically focused its investments on persons and households that are, by definition, struggling financially. Independent Living programs serve those individuals who face additional barriers beyond financial stability. They collectively work to improve outcomes for individuals through 1) maintaining independence in the face of challenges and/or 2) moving from a dependent state to an independent state through skills acquisition.
The Independent Living grant for 2019-2023 focuses on programs that either teach or provide interventions for instrumental activities of daily living. These include cleaning and maintaining the house, managing money, moving within the community, preparing meals, shopping for groceries and necessities, self-care, and communication.
These papers are meant to explore the populations served by independent living strategies as well as elevate specific work in housing, daily living activities, employment, and training.