A group of concerned citizens, the majority of whom were persons with disabilities, founded the Southeast Center for Independent Living (SCIL) in 1986. Our founding activists shared a vision of affecting change that would make the community accessible to any person with a disability. They aspired to provide the resources, knowledge, and assistance to those with a disability who wished to pursue a more independent, self-directed lifestyle.
In 1987 the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) awarded SCIL a startup contract. SCIL began to advocate for consumer (a term for individuals with disabilities that receive services from independent living centers) rights with regards to transportation, housing, and healthcare issues. By February of 1987, SCIL opened in Fall River, MA and became incorporated as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.
Just two months later the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing awarded a larger contract to SCIL to provide independent living services to individuals that are deaf and hard of hearing. This allowed SCIL the opportunity to reach out and help more individuals in the community. The following year in 1988, SCIL was awarded a federal contract for Title VII Part A which gave SCIL funds to provide adaptive equipment and other independent living services that would be needed to enhance the consumers’ independence.