About HILC

Mission Statement

Harlem Independent Living Center (HILC) is a disability-focused organization that advocates for community change and empowers people to be independent.

Vision Statement

To advocate for a fully accessible society.

History of the Harlem Independent Living Center

Prior to May 1990, Harlem’s disabled individuals were denied easy access to independent living services provided elsewhere in the City. Based on a commitment to provide access to independent living services to these unserved and underserved individuals and to expand the system of independent living available to all New Yorkers, the Harlem Independent Living Center was incorporated on May 31, 1990.

The Center was initially organized under the guidance of individuals from the Harlem Hospital Center, the Building Bridges Rehabilitation Task Force, the office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) formally the New York State Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID), and others. HILC was established pursuant to a US Rehabilitation Services Administration Title VII, Part B grant. ACCES-VR monitors and oversees the implementation of this grant to ensure its programs are responsive to consumer needs.


Under the leadership of the Executive Director who reports to the Board of Directors, the HILC staff comprises a Deaf Services Advocate, Benefits Advocate, Housing Advocate, Youth Services Advocate, and Director of Operations.

Our Objective

The Center’s objective is to provide an array of independent living services to persons with disabilities to increase their ability to function independently within their community. The Center is a community-based, non-residential, non-medical, consumer-controlled organization that provides a “peer” approach to services; i.e., a place where people with disabilities frequently assist other disabled persons.