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Disability network of the U.P. opens local office

HANCOCK — The Superior Alliance for Independent Living (SAIL), a Marquette-based nonprofit disabilities network serving all 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula, has hired a local staff person who is providing services to residents throughout the Copper Country, said Kevin Weir, disability advocate -independent living skills.

“SAIL assists those with disabilities live a more independent life,” said Weir. “We are working to enhance our already existing non-profit services in Keweenaw, Houghton and Baraga counties. We have added staff and a working office.”

SAIL is one of just 15 Centers for Independent Living (CIL) in the state of Michigan, Weir said, and they are designed and operated by individuals with disabilities, CILs are unique in that they operate according to a strict policy of control, where wherein individuals with all types of disabilities directly govern and staff the organization.

SAIL has been serving individuals with disabilities and their families across all Upper Peninsula communities since 1998, the SAIL website states. Staff provides information, resources, referrals and support services to people with a wide variety of disabilities, both visible and invisible.

“SAIL’s core pillars of service are advocacy, transition, independent living skills development and peer support,” states the website. “We also work on a larger scale, helping local businesses, and other organizations to make changes that improve life for everyone in the community.”

Centers for Independent Living are community-based, cross-disability, non-profit organizations that are designed and operated by individuals with disabilities. CIL’s are unique in that they operate according to a strict philosophy of consumer control, wherein individuals with all types of disabilities directly govern and staff the organization.

SAIL provides the following five core services:

• Information & Referral

• Peer Support

• Individual and Systems Advocacy

• Independent Living Skills Development

• Transition

“Eligibility for services if fairly simple,” said Weir. “Basically, one just needs to self-identify as a having a disability, and want to work towards becoming more independent. That’s it.”

SAIL states that as a center for independent living, the network embodies the independent living philosophy and culture of the independent living movement.

“Independent living philosophy emphasizes consumer control,” the site explains, “the idea that people with disabilities are the best experts on their own needs, having crucial and valuable perspective to contribute, and deserving of equal opportunity to decide how to live, work, and take part in their communities.

In the Copper Country, SAIL wants to support those who need assistance in creating an adaptable and customized service. Staff assists an individual to outline their goals through an independent living plan, and provides peer support to navigate available resources in the community.

The organization offers the following services for the individual, and the community:

• Accessibility,

• Assistive technology

• Benefits analysis and Independent Living Skills Training

• Employment

• Health and wellness

• Housing and community living supports

• Information and referral

• Transition

• Veteran services

Anyone interested in requesting more information, or a service, please contact SAIL at (906) 228-5744, or visit the website at www.upsail.org.

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