NILP Headquarters are based in Lawrence, MA. Our regular business hours are 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. (ET) Monday thru Friday. Please contact us at (978) 687-4288 or at Help Desk
Prior to opening our doors just over 36 years ago in Lawrence, the greater Merrimack Valley region provided few options for people with disabilities besides life in a nursing home, state hospital or residential school. In 1980, that all began to change when we started identifying people with disabilities and their families to provide them with Independent Living (IL) services. The Northeast Independent Living Program, Inc. (NILP) was one of the first Independent Living Centers (ILC) to be created using the newly formed federal funding for Centers for Independent Living (CIL). NILP became a national example of real cross disability services being provided for the disabled by the disabled. From our inception, it is mandated in our charter that at least 51% of our staff and 51% of our board be persons with disabilities.
The need for IL advocacy and services was over-whelming for our initial staff of three people. Traveling from house to house, and institution to institution, we were completely committed to spreading the word of IL and building a foundation for fundamental change. Today, NILP employs over 50 people dedicated to providing advocacy and services to people with all disabilities in the 52 cities and towns that NILP serves in Northeast Massachusetts.
NILP subscribes heavily to peer role modeling. People with disabilities working together to achieve independence are likely to bond to their shared experience of disability, which makes teaching and counseling much easier and more immediate. Additionally, fundamental to the IL philosophy is cross-disability – the belief that IL is a right for people with all types of disabilities. While various types and levels of disability each have their own unique challenges, we believe all persons with disabilities share the same struggle for the self-determination of their lives and an equal opportunity in society.
Present in all of our work are a minimum of five basic core IL services: Information and Referral, Peer Counseling, Skills Training, Advocacy, and Nursing Home Transition to Community Living. Our programs and services that help people with all disabilities include: Transition to Adulthood (TAP) for youth ages 14 to 22, Deaf and Hard of Hearing IL Services (DHILS), Independent Living/Vocational Rehabilitation (IL/VR) Services, The Northeast Recovery Learning Community (NERLC) serving individuals with “lived experience” with a psychiatric disability, Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Services, Community Supports (CS), Long Term Options Counseling (OC), Long Term Services & Supports (LTSS), Money Follows the Person (MFP), Transition Services, The Merrimack Valley Aging & Disability Resource Consortium (a partnership between NILP and Elder Services of Merrimack Valley serving people with all disabilities and elders), The Training and Learning Collaborative (TLC is the education division of NILP geared toward educating organizations, businesses, and individuals with disability awareness training and consulting), and NILP Community Development Consulting which is geared to the business community providing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) training and compliance assistance.
NILP’s by-laws require that a minimum of 51% of its Board of Directors is people with disabilities that reflect the disability community we serve. The same holds true for the staff at all levels. Further, anyone who has received services during the year is eligible to vote for the Board at its Annual Meeting.
NILP MISSION STATEMENT:
Our Mission: The Northeast Independent Living Program, Inc. is a consumer controlled Independent Living Center providing advocacy and services to people with all disabilities in the greater Merrimack Valley who wish to live independently in the community.
Our Philosophy: Independent Living Philosophy states that individuals with disabilities are the best determinants of their own needs and service choices. Through role modeling and peer counseling, with other individuals with disabilities, they become empowered to make changes in their lives and become more self-sufficient and self-reliant.
NILP VISION STATEMENT:
Northeast Independent Living is known throughout the state for helping individuals regain and retain their independence and equality in the community through Information and Referral, Advocacy, Skills Training, Peer Counseling, and Transition to Community Living. We are a community of people who open doors to create an all-inclusive community free of communication, attitudinal, economic, and architectural barriers for all people with disabilities.