Southwest Center for Independence provides supports and training for people in our the disability and aging communities to lives they want in Southwest Colorado.
We envision a world where people with disabilities and elders are respected included members of their communities, making their own decisions, directing the supports and services they need to live well in the community, and giving back to the community from their strengths.
Since its foundation in 1990, SWCI has provided free-of-charge assistance to and partnership with people with disabilities in the five counties of rural southwest Colorado. Census figures estimate that 12,057 people with disabilities live in our region. SWCI is one of nine independent living centers in Colorado that contract with state government to provide services.
We are a private non-profit with funding from government, service clubs, foundations, personal donations, and fee-for-service activities with agencies. We have several programs of benefit to local seniors and people with disabilities. We serve people of any age with any disabilities that severely impact their ability to live well in their community. Many don't meet the criteria for other disability programs, so would otherwise "fall through the cracks." We work with people in every stratum of our communities. Most are adults with mental, physical or cognitive disabilities. The vast majority survive on less than $10,000 per year. People with disabilities face financial, physical and emotional barriers to living independently, but the major Colorado-wide issues include 43.5% unemployment, a 23.3% poverty rate, lack of appropriate affordable accessible housing (Colorado is one of 22 states where average rent exceeds SSI benefits), lack of reliable transportation for people in rural areas, and lack of affordable accessible health and support services.
Most recently, after years advocating for better more accessible transportation options in our region, we started Southwest Rides to provide the only free accessible driver-assisted transportation in our region, for people with disabilities, the aging, and Veterans to medical appointments and the food bank.
• You have given hope to a soul that needed it to make a life worth living. My daughters thank you for that I am able to see the light again!
• You know, I have given up hope many times...thinking it was just the way it was gonna be and you just kept me looking under every rock. I just can't thank you enough! "Welcome to your own life!" Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart! ~ Mary
• I have found the exercise class to be very effective. I am a wheelchair user, but I can do the exercises that he does in the class. I look forward to every Thursday! It is so much fun and a good workout! ~ Jeanine
• During my first visit with staff, we spent three hours brainstorming and getting me signed up for various programs to help me find my way through a dark time. Staff also helped me apply for a cell phone I could use for texting in emergencies (I'm hearing-impaired and can't understand on the phone). The staff at SWCI treated me with respect and dignity, always encouraging me, always providing support and offering many ideas and suggestions to help me get to a better place in my life. I appreciate so much what SWCI has done for me and I honestly don't know where I'd be right now without their timely and compassionate help. Thanks, SWCI! ~ Mike
• Thank you for your words of encouragement. It came from your heart, so drew the fear from my mind and made me feel all right. ~ Vincent
• My Independent Living Specialist from SWCI has believed in me from the moment she and I started working together. She supports me in achieving my goals. ~ Janelle
• I like SWCI. They are supporting me to be independent and to see my full potential in reaching the goals and dreams I have for me and my family. For the first time, I see my dreams as a possible reality. I never knew I had this in me. ~ Pebbles
• SWCI is a huge asset for me. I'm excited to have so much support adjusting to my disability and life in the community! Getting out and having the peer support has helped so much with my anxiety and depression. ~ Marlise
• Thank you for helping me stay in my own place in the community instead of going to a nursing home. ~ James
• The staff know the struggles with living with a major illness. My ILS is always positive and willing to help me. ~ Francesca
• Best services around with some of the kindest people I've met. For my circumstances it is extremely helpful. Much Thanks! Just keep up the good work!!!
• The way Southwest Rides treats people is exceptional. Truly thankful for meeting such down to earth people who understand people.
• The folks at Southwest Rides are very enjoyable. I actually look forward to going to my doctors' appointments because I get to get out of the house and enjoy visiting with the professional yet friendly drivers. You folks rock! Your company is awesome!
• Our family member's newly acquired independence has had a noticeable positive effect on his entire life and that of our family. We are grateful.
• My Independent Living Specialist is my Yoda. I was able to work with several specialists and everything was coordinated efficiently. I was homeless. Now I have a housing voucher, a job, and help with my Social Security claim. Now I have a chance to be independent, to really get on my feet again, to work on my disability, and to work and volunteer to serve my community. ~ Lisa D