Direct Services

Ribbon Cutting at Copley Station New ElevatorEmpowering a person means to assist an individual to take control of his or her life in all areas, regardless of what his or her disability may be. Through BCIL’s Direct Services department, we work with individuals to help them develop, set, and achieve their personal goals. By developing an Independent Living Plan with consumers, BCIL staff support consumers to identify and set goals such as accessing benefits, asking for reasonable accommodations, finding affordable housing, or entering employment.

As a Center for Independent Living, BCIL works to give people with disabilities the skills, knowledge, and support they need to reach their goals. This is achieved through Information and Referral, Skills Training, Peer Mentoring, and Advocacy.

BCIL’s Direct Services:

Information and Referral:
Information and Referral is the first point of contact for BCIL consumers, but it doesn’t end there. Once working with a BCIL advocate or skills trainer, you may be given resources that will help you achieve your goals within the community. BCIL staff are knowledgeable of human service agencies and will help you to navigate through this complex world by providing you the information you need to access the services that will support you to reach your goals.  Information and referral discussions might include resources or programs for:

  • Learning about options you may have for personal care and in-home support as you plan to leave a nursing home or hospital
  • Finding affordable and accessible housing
  • Learning about how you can acquire assistive technology and communication equipment
  • Planning your child’s education plan, particularly as he or she nears high school graduation
  • Obtaining and directing PCA services
  • Finding out about accessible transportation services
  • Obtaining and maximizing benefits
  • Setting career goals in a current or future job or finding employment
  • Addressing communication needs due to a language or communication barrier
  • Understanding your civil rights under the ADA or Fair Housing law
  • Helping people understand your disability and ways to accommodate disabilities
  • Appealing a decision from a housing, educational or medical provider or an employer
  • Increasing your access to necessary healthcare
  • Mobility training
  • Referrals for home making services

Skills Training

Having the information about where to get a service is not always enough; people also need necessary skills to work towards their goals. Through skills training, consumers can learn how to access services or work towards the goals in their Independent Living Plan. Skills training can include:

  • How to ask for a reasonable accommodation
  • Learning about consumer rights and protections
  • How to fill out housing applications
  • Job interview skills preparation

Peer Mentoring

The majority of Direct Service staff at BCIL identify as a person with a disability. Through their experiences, they have gained valuable knowledge that can support a consumer in understanding independent living from an individual who knows what it takes to live in a world laced with barriers. Much of BCIL’s success comes from individual interactions between staff and people using our services — consumers who become empowered as active, participating members of their community. Peer mentoring can include:

  • Building self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Defining independence for yourself
  • Becoming a self-advocate
  • Exploring ways to overcome barriers

Individual Advocacy

While BCIL aims to empower the consumer to be a self- advocate, we understand that sometimes an extra voice is needed. As an advocate, BCIL staff can support you in reaching your goals through reaching out to other service providers and reiterating the needs you have identified. BCIL staff are not attorneys, but they are knowledgeable about disability rights and can support you in accessing services. Individual advocacy can include:

  • Acquiring accommodations in the home or at work
  • Maintaining a priority on a housing wait list
  • Non-attorney SSI/SSDI appeals process
  • Increasing access to services

Accessing BCIL’s Services

BCIL is a cross-disability organization and works with any person (regardless of age) who identifies as a person with a disability. Our services have no fees, and there is no waitlist. In order to connect with an advocate/skills trainer, please contact our Information and Referral Specialists. They will talk to you about your goals and determine if BCIL’s Direct Services can support you. If you are a service provider, we can arrange to have a BCIL representative come talk with you, your school, hospital or agency about any of our programs, special projects, or services.

To reach an Information and Referral Specialist please call: 617-338-6665

BCIL can help you deal with the many issues that affect people with disabilities and empower you to reach your goals. It takes the experience and focus that BCIL staff exhibit to address the tough situations presented by many people contacting us for services. Here’s a small sampling of recent success stories.