Welcome to the Boston Center for Independent Living  (BCIL)

BCIL is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has provided services to people with disabilities since 1974, when it became the second independent living center in the country. The organization was created by people with disabilities seeking full integration into society. BCIL accomplishes this by empowering people of all ages with a wide range of disabilities with the practical skills and self-confidence to take control over their lives and become active members of the communities in which they live. At the same time, BCIL engages in advocacy and community organizing to promote access and change within society.

Our Mission Statement

The Boston Center for Independent Living is a frontline civil rights organization led by people with disabilities that advocates to eliminate discrimination, isolation and segregation by providing advocacy, information and referral, peer support, skills training, PCA services, and transitional services in order to enhance the independence of people with disabilities.

Our Antiracism Statement

The Boston Center for Independent Living commits to making all aspects of our work antiracist, not only because it is just but also because it is necessary to serve and represent our community of people with disabilities. We commit to purposefully identifying, discussing, and challenging issues of race and ethnicity to address the impact they have on our organization, our work, and our people. Moreover, we will add our voice and advocacy to similar antiracist efforts in our community.


If you suspect abuse or neglect of a person with disabilities, please contact the Disabled Persons Protection Commission hotline at 1-800-426-9009 or 1-888-822-0350 TTY (ages 18-59), the Executive Office of Elder Affairs at 1-800-922-2275 (ages 60+), the Department of Public Health 1-800-462-5540 (all Ages residing in Long Term Care Facilities), and the Department of Children and Families at 1-800-792-5200 (ages birth-17). The DPPC Sexual Assault Response Unit can be reached at 617-727-6465.


Click here to view the recent Updates to The Ride Program letter


Upcoming Events

One Care Implementation Council Town Hall

Tuesday, December 14, 2021
10:00am - 12:00pm

Are you or a family member in One Care? Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) or Tufts Health Unify?  Are you thinking about joining?  Join us for a statewide discussion about One… Read More

Virtual Housing Workshop

Wednesday, December 15, 2021
10:00am - 12:00pm

Virtual Housing Workshop Join us on the first and third Wednesday of every month to learn more about and how to apply for affordable housing options in your area. Our… Read More

Virtual Housing Workshop

Wednesday, January 5, 2022
10:00am - 12:00pm

Virtual Housing Workshop Join us on the first and third Wednesday of every month to learn more about and how to apply for affordable housing options in your area. Our… Read More

Latest News

Earlier this year, Waltham’s Recreation Board held a special meeting to fast track a permit for the holiday light show at the former Fernald School without opposition. The city then sought a planner for the northern part of the site, where vandals have been allowed to destroy tens of millions of dollars of property. The city’s proposal no longer includes a museum as a potential use, only an unspecified memorial. Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy still refuses to speak with disabled people, and the light show has returned. In response to this ongoing abuse of a site of conscience, our letter, signed by more than two dozen disability organizations and organizers, is below. An Open Letter Regarding the Use of Former Disability Institutions in Massachusetts Tens of thousands of citizens with disabilities were once locked away for life in institutions all over Massachusetts. This story is not long past, but there is a disturbing effort underway to erase it in communities that once housed these facilities. This includes cities like Waltham, where the ruins of the Fernald School—the oldest of the former state school sites—are yet again being used for a holiday light show. There, community leaders have eagerly solicited ideas that will hide the school’s history, from its darkest days to the era of reform that began in the 1970s. Along the way, they have reflexively excluded people with disabilities from any substantive role in envisioning how the site should be handled. Meanwhile, no municipal efforts have been made to recognize the survivors of institutions, tell their stories, or even meet with them. In Waltham, as with almost every other site in Massachusetts, disabled people have been shut out. This erasure is not just a concern of the past. The same mindsets that transformed institutions into warehouses that forcibly hid disabled people out of sight are now the mindsets that lead communities like Waltham to hide their history behind holiday lights. These actions send a clear and disturbing message to disabled children, adults, and institutional survivors in our communities. As disabled people and disability rights organizations, we denounce this trivialization of the past and the baffling dedication community leaders have shown to doing it again and again while ignoring the very people who sites like the Fernald are about. We call on them embrace basic decency and stop conducting these light shows on grounds that deserve reflection and respect. Organizational Signatories: Arc of MassachusettsCenter for Public Representation Boston Center for Independent Living The Belchertown State School Friends AssociationDisability Law Center Disability Policy Consortium Harvard Law School Project on Disability Human Services Research Institute Kiva CentersLurie Institute for Disability Policy Mass Advocates Standing Strong Massachusetts Association for Mental Health MassFamilies Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee Metro Boston Recovery Learning Community MetroWest Center for Independent Living Northeast Center for Independent Living Northeast Recovery Learning Community SouthEast Recovery Learning Community Wildflower Alliance Wild Ivy Social Justice NetworkIndividual Signatories:Anne Fracht, past Board President, MASS Alex Green, Visiting Fellow, Harvard Law School Project on Disability Ingrid Grenon, Author Sera Davidow, Director, Wildflower Alliance Evan Rockefeller Sue Rorke, MWCIL Ida Shaker Zachary Sherman Carol Steinberg, Attorney and Writer ... See MoreSee Less