ACI began in 1975, when a group of people with disabilities joined together to advocate against the common practice of institutionalizing young adults with disabilities in systems where their civil rights were repeatedly violated. This group formed ACI, one of the first Centers for Independent Living in the country (and the only one in Denver metro), whose goal is to ensure all individuals with disabilities–regardless of the type or extent of their disability–have the same rights and responsibilities as their non-disabled peers.
Today, ACI is a cross-disability, consumer-controlled, non-profit that assists people with disabilities in determining, and advocating for, supports necessary to help them live independently. Over 60% of ACI’s employees and 50% of ACI’s board live with disabilities. ACI is unique because it is NOT an institution; rather it is a community where individuals enjoy self-determination and advocate for the supports they need to experience the highest quality of life.
ACI’s services are available to all individuals with any disability, who are twice as likely to live in poverty as their non-disabled peers. ACI does not distinguish between types of disabilities, nor the severity or perceived severity of a disability. ACI consumers are required to be active participants in choosing the supports they need, as individual choice and person-centered approaches are key to the mission of ACI. Consumers are asked to clearly define goals that they wish to achieve to fulfill the ultimate aim of achieving self-sufficiency.