The COVID-19 pandemic has caused interruptions and barriers to service delivery for people with disabilities around the country. When Centers for Independent Living (CILs) offices closed, it affected their ability to offer their usual in-person services, including skills-based trainings and classes.
Staff from RTC:Rural learned first-hand how the pandemic was affecting CILs’ delivery of such classes. Healthy Community Living (HCL), a health promotion and independent living skills program developed by RTC:Rural staff and disability stakeholders, was designed for in-person delivery. With several partnering CILs actively conducting in-person HCL workshops with consumers when the pandemic hit, it triggered a need for discussions, collaboration, and problem solving to adapt the program’s delivery under vastly new conditions.
The Rural Community Living Development (RCLD) project is a knowledge translation grant funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). RTC:Rural staff have partnered with the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) to develop and implement a peer-mentoring training with and for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) that will prepare CIL staff to work on community development activities in rural areas. This training will help CIL staff to identify community needs and develop sustainable groups to solve community challenges. The project’s aim is to help CILs across the country connect with community partners to better serve people in rural communities.
In October 2020, RTC:Rural Project Director Rayna Sage presented on RCLD progress-to-date to attendees of the 2020 APRIL Conference as part of a talk on “Strategies for Rural Outreach and Networking,” where she explained how the project shifted due to the current pandemic.
“We planned on being in a community, actually in a number of communities, to use community development strategies like coalition building and partnering with diverse groups to address issues around community living for people with disabilities – but COVID – so we shifted gears,” Sage said. “So we shifted gears to bring together a team, a development team, from across the U.S. to build this Peer-to-Peer Mentoring curriculum.”
This year the 26th annual Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference “2020 and Beyond: Building the Next Generation of IL” is online, and will be held October 12-16. We are proud to be part of this year’s conference to continue our work alongside APRIL and the Centers for Independent Living it represents.
Registration, a draft agenda, and other information can be found on the APRIL website.
The bulletin shares information about federally-funded resources that can help people with disabilities and older adults, especially those living in rural areas, to remain in their homes and communities. The bulletin shares these resources with state Medicaid agencies, state and local housing agencies, state and local public health agencies, and other health and housing entities.
The Rural Community Living Development (RCLD) project is a knowledge translation grant funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). RTC:Rural staff have partnered with the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) to develop and implement a peer to peer mentor training with and for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) that will prepare CIL staff to work on community development activities in rural areas. The project includes helping communities identify, access and use NIDILRR-funded products and resources that can address the most important community issues for increased independence and participation (such as access to accessible housing or transportation) of people with disabilities in their rural communities.
The Rural Community Living Development project team explains the project and gives a quick progress update.
Healthy Community Living Skills Training Peer Support Call
Note: this webinar is open to those who are currently using the Healthy Community Living (HCL) program.
If you are not a current HCL provider and are interested learning more about HCL programs, you can find more information and get a license on the HCL website: Healthy Community Living
Current HCL providers: Join your peers from across the country on a peer support call on June 24 at 1:00-2:30 Mountain time (3:00-4:30 Eastern) to discuss implementing Healthy Community Living programs!
The Healthy Community
Living (HCL) Program is a collection of workshops that support opportunities
for all people to live well and participate in their communities.
HCL is usually delivered through in-person workshops. Since
in-person delivery of services is not recommended or not permitted right now as
we all live with the presence of COVID-19, we’re sharing some ways to make HCL
available to consumers remotely.
Limited offer: Access HCL
for free now through May 1
To help provide another way for people to connect to peer
support, and also for CIL staff to access professional development trainings
they can do on their own time, HCL is offering a free one-year license,
now through May 1.
The newly funded project, Rural Community Living Development
(RCLD), is led by Rural Sociologist and Project Director Dr. Rayna Sage, and
Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Clinical Psychologist and Research Director for the
Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural).
The purpose of the Rural Community Living Development
project is to provide space and facilitate conversations among community
members to help them connect to resources and information they might not
otherwise have access to.
Using a combination of independent living philosophy, peer mentoring and community development approaches, research staff will work with Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to take collective action that leads to positive change for and with people with disabilities living in rural areas.