Our History

Independent living centers emerged from a movement that was itself a response to the self-identified needs of severely disabled persons that were inadequately addressed by traditional service programs. The independent living movement asserts the ideas of consumerism, self-direction, self-help and peer service provision. Peer support is the “bedrock’ of the independent living movement. In the history of independent living centers, peer mentors, advocates, etc. provided skill training, advocacy, information and referral and many other services as a normal part of peer support. It is this history and the sharing of experiences, resources and skills that IU will utilize to provide a response to the need for additional peer support as identified by IU consumers and the basis for successful barrier removal and increased community participation of Center consumers with psychiatric disabilities.

Independence Unlimited, Incorporated (IU) is a non-residential, non-profit center for independent living that serves very diverse populations in 38 cities and towns in mainly Hartford County. The Center, which was established in 1982, is governed and managed by people with disabilities.


Our core services include:

  • peer counseling
  • independent living skills training
  • information and referral and,
  • advocacy services (systems and individual)
  • youth and community living transition planning

We provide a variety of other services that benefit persons with disabilities such as assisting persons with disabilities in transitioning from institutions into community-based settings. The primary purpose of the agency is to support persons with disabilities to live in the community as an alternative to institutionalization.


Independence Unlimited envisions a society that, by design and commitment, is barrier free and promotes the rights, value, and dignity of individuals with disabilities as fully participating in self directing their lives.

Mission Statement:

The mission of Independence Unlimited is to assist individuals with disabilities in the Greater Hartford Area to achieve their goals and dreams.


We value people with disabilities of all ages and abilities, partnering with them so that they might remain in their  communities with supports and services that maximize their freedom, choice, and independence. We believe that persons with disabilities should be treated with dignity and respect.
We believe that the disability community has equal rights with all fellow citizens to:

  • Promote and model inclusion as a society
  • Choose their lifestyle, profession, family composition and level of societal participation,
  • Secure the required equipment and services that will reduce societal and environmental barriers which cause them to be dependent and prevent their full integration into the community of their choice, and
  • Enhance individual capacity for a meaningful life and physical, social, emotional, financial, spiritual, family, mental and environmental well-being.

We believe that we are accountable for:

  • Bring role models and fostering self-worth for individuals with disabilities,
  • Providing advocacy on behalf of each consumer as a vital part of an advocate's role,
  • Providing high quality, customer-focused, cost-effective services,
  • Progressive change in our organizations and systems of our society in order to solve problems that prevent the disability community from participating as equals within our society, and
  • Collaborative actions and serve delivery that results in a stronger, streamlined catalyst for change that will benefit our community.


Practice your employment skills!

Looking to practice your employment skills? Independence Unlimied is seeking volunteers

Volunteering can help you further develop new skills, increase your knowledge in new areas, gain new experiences, expand your resume and explore career opportunities.  Volunteers needed for:

  • IU Library
  • Clerical Tasks
  • IU newsletter
  • Peer Counseling
  • Reception Desk

Interested? Contact Candace or Sue at 860-523-5021

Like Us On Facebook