Rural Advocates for Independent Living

Rural Advocates for Independent Living assist persons with disabilities to live as independently as they choose within the communities of their choice. RAIL offers 5 CORE Services: Information and Referral Services, Peer Support, Independent Living Skills Training, Advocacy and Transition Services.  We also offer these additional services: low vision center, personal care products, durable medical equipment and Missouri Telecommunication Access Program. Rural Advocates for Independent Living, Inc. was established in 1992.  We are a non-profit 501(c)3, non-residential, consumer-controlled, Independent Living Center. 51% or more of RAIL’s board of Directors and staff consists of individuals with disabilities.

Our Service Area

RAIL’s service area includes the following 10 counties: Adair, Chariton, Knox, Linn, Macon, Putnam, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, and Sullivan.

Donations Welcome

As a non-profit organization, we gladly accept donations. All our efforts go into helping individuals with disabilities in the communities we serve.

Equipment Donations: RAIL is always in need of medical equipment and home furnishings to provide to our consumers.  Please contact, if you have items to donate.

Rural Advocates for Independent Living - History

History of the Independent Living Movement

When the process of deinstitutionalization began in the 1960’s, some people with significant disabilities were released from inevitable life sentences in nursing homes and other institutions, which created for the first time in history an opportunity, an imperative, for people with disabilities to live free and independent lives. From this, a community and a culture with history, values, and an objective were born. Our first taste of emancipation came amidst massive civil rights movements nationally and abroad. Leaders of the disability community began to realize that our human rights and civil liberties would come only as we fought for them. With most state-run institutions closed, people with significant disabilities became more visible, and more audible, too. But society’s unwelcoming attitude did not change. The private medical industry quickly appropriated the responsibilities of formerly state-run institutions. Centers for Independent Living were created to be run by and for people with disabilities, and offer support, advocacy, and information on empowerment in the attainment of independence from a peer viewpoint, a perspective that was hitherto excluded from participation in the discussion and execution of “services for the disabled.” Independent Living activists carried out some of the most daring protests in American civil rights history, including the longest occupation of a Federal building in history, which led to the release of the regulations banning discrimination against people with disabilities in federally funded programs. As Independent Living philosophy took hold nationally and the Disability Rights Movement gained acceptance and political influence, a grassroots movement for a comprehensive disability rights law (the ADA) was implemented. Today, Centers for Independent Living fight similar battles to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are protected. Even with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities often find that advocacy and support from the disability community and the Disability Rights Movement is an essential element in enforcement of the civil rights law. Many of the issues we fight for have strong opposition and powerful lobbyists in the for-profit sector. NCIL remains dedicated to the community values, objectives, and unity that we were founded on. National Council on Independent Living

Our Equal Access Principles

  • Discrimination of people based on disability must not be tolerated.
  • Federal, State or Local governments must enforce and implement all civil rights laws that protect the rights and freedoms of people with disabilities.
  • People with disabilities, no matter the type of disability or their age, have the right to live in the community of his or her choice and to fully participate in any and all aspects of the community.
  • People with disabilities have the right to control their own destiny, therefore, they must be provided with all the information regarding all options in order to make informed choices.
  • People with disabilities have the right to live in the setting of their choice; therefore, they must have access to accessible, affordable, integrated housing options.
  • People with disabilities have the right to move freely throughout their community; therefore they must have access to affordable transportation that is accessible.
  • Children and young people with disabilities are the future of America; therefore they must have access to quality education that includes the services and programs that allows them to fully participate in an integrated educational system.
  • The rights and empowerment of people with disabilities should be promoted and we will advocate for procedures, policies, regulations and legislation which promote their civil and human rights.

There are 22 Centers for Independent Living in Missouri. Visit MOCIL’s website to find a Center near you!

Learn more about Consumer Directed Services by visiting MOCIL’s CDS Page! Click HERE

Rural Advocates for Independent Living

Contact Us

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Kirksville Location

Macon Building - Rural Advocates for Independent Living

Macon Location

For more information on services call or email us today!