The purpose of Prairie Independent Living Resource Center (PILR) is to achieve the full inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities through education and advocacy. PILR is a Non-Profit organization.
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Vision for the future:
At PILR, we feel strongly that individuals are healthiest and happiest when they’re connected and contributing to their community. We believe that these steps can help us reach this goal:
Helping to facilitate safe and independent housing situations for people with disabilities and aging populations
Increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities
Increase awareness about disabilities among employers and in the community at large
Position PILR as a local resource for information about disability and aging.
Prairie Independent Living Resource Center (PILR) began operation on January 15, 1997. At that time, PILR was being mentored by Topeka Independent Living Resource Center (TILRC). They referred to us as “The Hutch Center”. The center became a separate entity June 16, 1998 and was named Prairie Independent Living Resource Center, Inc. or (PILR). In 1997, there were 6 full-time and 1 part-time staff. Over the years, the staff has increased and PILR now has three offices. In addition, the center has numerous volunteers and provides services to consumers in various counties across the state. To better meet consumer needs, PILR opened a satellite office in Pratt in late 2006, in Dodge city in the summer of 2011, and in Netwon in 2017. In April 2001, PILR moved the Hutchinson office from its original building to a larger more accessible and prominent location to accommodate additional staff and a growing number of consumers and services.
Prairie Independent Living Resource Center is a private, nonprofit, nonresidential, consumer-driven agency endeavoring to promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities into the community of their choice. PILR receives funding to provide services in Harvey, McPherson, Reno, Pratt, Kingman, Harper, Barber, Kiowa, Clark, Stafford, Edwards, Ness, Hodgeman, Comanche, and Ford counties. In addition, PILR Staff also assist individuals in other surrounding areas. These services include the five core services, which are Individual and Systems Advocacy, Information and Referral, Peer Support, Independent Living Skills Training and Deinstitutionalization. Additional services include Community Outreach, Community Education, Home and Community-Based Services, Technical Assistance, Independent Living services to the older blind community, employment services including job placement and Braille Embossing.
Aaron Hargrave, Roger Frischenmeyer, Tom Hayes and Stephanie Sanford enjoy advocating at the capitol.
Community involvement is an important part of the Center’s activities including active membership on a variety of local, county and state boards. Through PILR’s consumer services and community activities, the Center is recognized as playing a vital role in the network of Independent Living Services in Kansas.
The core services and staff are funded with a grant through the Department of Children and Families (DCF). In the past, several of PILR’s advocacy projects were funded with a grant from the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas (SILCK). Over the years the Center has developed into an active advocacy organization. PILR became a Medicaid provider for the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers in 1998. In 2012 the Medicaid Waivers were absorbed into Kan-Care and PILR became a Financial Management Services (FMS) provider. In 2000 the center established a fee-for-service contract with Kansas Rehabilitation Services (KRS) to provide services such as Braille literacy, computer training, and independent living skills training to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. In June 2001 PILR was one of 34 Non-Profit organizations who received a grant from the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. The $10,000 was used to purchase an accessible ADA computer workstation for consumers to use for advocacy and employment purposes. Because PILR is aware of the barriers to integrated competitive employment faced by job seekers with disabilities, a payment for performance contract was established in 2003 with KRS to provide highly individualized job development, placement, and follow-up services. Braille embossing is an additional source of revenue. In 2011 PILR received a home modification grant from the Home Depot Foundation.
In 2014 The Kansas Health foundation provided funding to creating a mobile responsive website and pilr.org acquired a new look. In addition, local businesses, civic organizations and individuals continue to contribute financial and in-kind support to projects and events sponsored by the center.