Mission Statement: “The Topeka Independent Living Resource Center (TILRC) is a civil and human rights organization. Our mission is to advocate for justice, equality and essential services for a fully integrated and accessible society for all people with disabilities.”
TILRC was officially opened in November 1980, however, its roots date back to the early 1970s. During those years, the Independent Living Movement across the nation was gaining momentum. This movement involved shifting societal attitudes about disability from perceptions of dependency, pity and charity toward recognition of independence, integration, and removal of architectural and other barriers.
Vocational rehabilitation agencies had been the traditional resource for people with disabilities, but they had no resources for people whose primary goals were to move from institutions and into the community. After much work and many battles, Congress authorized the funding of Independent Living Services and Centers through the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration. Supporters of this movement in Shawnee County banded together and applied for a grant to open a center to be located in Topeka. A grant was awarded and TILRC began its operations in the latter part of 1980. TILRC began with a staff of 8 and has grown to over 56 employees as our services continue to expand.
TILRC is controlled and operated by a majority of people with disabilities. TILRC provides advocacy and an array of self-directed services to people with disabilities and links them to available community options. TILRC works with citizens who experience disabilities to advocate as a group for community change for equal rights and for additional services. TILRC assists individuals with disabilities to advocate for themselves for equality, desired services and changes that meet their individual needs.
At TILRC we believe that people with any types of disabilities have a right to equal access to public services and accommodations. People with disabilities have a right to exercise and exert choice and self-determination in all areas of life. People with disabilities have a right to be accommodated in employment, housing, transportation, recreation and communication.
TILRC has a goal to provide the highest quality resources, advocacy and services possible. We continue our forward-thinking approach in working to offer the best possible resources for people with disabilities and their families.