In February of 1996 one woman who had a daughter with severe disabilities formed a group of citizens who had disabilities themselves or had family members with disabilities. The group shared their anguish and supported each other in trying to find resources and programs to assist people with disabilities. Shortly after the group formed they began working towards establishing a Center for Independent Living in Warrensburg, Missouri. At the time only ten such centers throughout Missouri were providing independent living skills training, information and referral, peer support, and advocacy serves to individuals with disabilities. In the fall of 1996 Warrensburg Independent Living Solutions (WILS), a 501 (3) c non-profit Center for Independent Living was formed and covered Johnson County, Missouri. Centers for Independent Living, often referred to as “CILs” are non-residential places of action and coalition where persons with disabilities learn empowerment and develop the skills necessary to make lifestyle choices. Within a couple of years Warrensburg Independent Living Solutions changed its name to West-Central Independent Living Solutions (WILS) and expanded their services to cover six (6) counties in the State of Missouri through their Warrensburg office.
Today, WILS is one of twenty-two (22) CIL’s in Missouri with the home office in Johnson County and satellite offices located in Benton, Henry, Lafayette, and Pettis Counties. This gives our staff of 44 greater access to the over 625 clients served and giving the clients a more personal service.
Following the Independent Living Philosophy of Choice, Control and Change; WILS strives to empower people with disabilities to achieve and maintain their independence by connecting people with disabilities to community resources enabling them to live as independently as possible. Through community education and advocacy, WILS works to encourage the removal of architectural and attitudinal barriers to allow full inclusion of people with disabilities in community life. WILS envisions a community where all individuals can participate fully without barriers.
WILS receives an annual Independent Living grant through the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE), Vocational Rehabilitation (VR or Voc Rehab) Services and must comply with the Center for Independent Living Compliance Manual. Oversight of our center’s financials is completed through an annual audit by an independent auditing firm and oversight of the centers programs is conducted every two (2) years through a Voc Rehab audit.