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Community Access Center Has Been Empowering People With Disabilities Living In Riverside County since 1995...


Welcome to Community Access Center

Welcome to Community Access Center (CAC) website.  We are an independent living center.  Community Access Center has been providing services to people with disabilities in Riverside County since 1995.

Due to the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic, Community Access Center staff members are working remotely and refraining from travel or attending in-person meetings.

For additional information reguarding CAC and the COVID-19 call us at (951) 274-0358.

For more information on the COVID-19 pandemic click on this link: Stay home except for essential needs

Thank you for your understanding and patience during this time.

Faustino Alvarez, Executive Director

The fully accessible guide to paying for college for students with disabilities

he fully accessible guide to paying for college for students with disabilities.Paying for college is a complicated process for any aspiring student. It’s a process that raises a ton of questions: What’s a Pell Grant? What’s a Perkins Loan? Do I have to pay anything back? For students with a disability, those questions are even more complicated.The good news: A disability is not an impediment to a college education. There are plenty of resources for those who need help applying and paying for it.

This guide, designed to work with assistive technology, can help you find these resources. Aspiring students with disabilities can use our table of contents to find the best scholarships for them. At the bottom of the page, we also list some tips on how to get federal and private aid.


 Our Mission Statement

The mission of Community Access Center is to empower persons with disabilities to control their own lives, create an accessible community and advocate to achieve complete social, economic, and political integration.

We implement this vision by providing information, supportive services and independent living skills training

The primary purpose of Community Access Center is to empower consumers with disabilities by providing services and information to support them in making choices that will positively affect their independence

CAC will accomplish this through a social-rehabilitation model.  The Center serves all people with physical and mental disabilities regardless of race, ancestry, religion, age, marital status, sexual preference, gender, and/or income.

The Independent Living Program

Centers for Independent Living are community-based, cross-disability, non-profit organizations that are designed and operated by people with disabilities. CILs are unique in that they operate according to a strict philosophy of consumer control, wherein people with all types of disabilities directly govern and staff the organization. Centers for Independent Living Provide:

  • Peer Support
  • Information and Referral
  • Individual and Systems Advocacy
  • Independent Living Skills Training
  • Transition

America is home to:

  • 403 Centers for Independent Living (CILs)
  • 330 branch offices
  • 56 Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs)

Find your local CIL or SILC.

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.

The Independent Living Philosophy & Culture

The Independent Living Movement is founded in the belief that people with disabilities, regardless of the form, have a common history and a shared struggle, that we are a community and a culture that will advance further banded together politically.

Independent Living philosophy emphasizes consumer control, the idea that people with disabilities are the best experts on their own needs, having crucial and valuable perspective to contribute and deserving of equal opportunity to decide how to live, work, and take part in their communities, particularly in reference to services that powerfully affect their day-to-day lives and access to independence.

According to traditional thought, disabilities are impairments to be cured through medical intervention.  In practice, people with significant disabilities are treated at best by the medical industry as diseases to be cured, and more often, since most disabilities cannot be cured, as incapable and undeserving of optimal and self-directed care.  The significant underestimation of the abilities and life quality of people with disabilities has led to a state in which the evaluation of people with disabilities by medical professionals, so highly valued by society, has come to infringe on basic human and civil rights.

The Independent Living Model sees the problem differently and understands disability as a construct of society.  In this model, the problem lies in the environment, not the individual.  Though many people have physical, intellectual, or mental attributes that deviate from the ‘norm,’ disability is manifested in society through purposefully created and maintained physical, programmatic, and attitudinal barriers.

People with disabilities do not see themselves as problems to be solved, and ask only for the same human and civil rights enjoyed by others.  Remarkably, this viewpoint is not generally accepted in society today and the Medical Model is still so deeply ingrained in us as a society that people with disabilities may spend their entire lives in nursing facilities often described as “tortuous” or even be refused treatment at a hospital, and at a professional’s discretion, denied life-saving “futile care”.

Walk-ins are always welcome at Community Access Center.  However, we can serve you better if you have an appointment.  We provide the  following Core Services:  Systems Advocacy, Individual Advocacy / Peer Counseling, Assistive Technology, Senior Low Vision Programs, IDEA Advocacy, ADA Compliance Reviews, and Disaster Planning.  For more information on each Core Service, click on the service's link or go to the CAC services page.


 Community Access Center Never Charges A Fee For Services Provided.

We Advocate for you!

Investigation of discrimination claims and mediation on behalf of people with disabilities in order to resolve conflicts that impede the attainment of needed benefits and services.

Consumer Rights Notification
Every consumer of the Community Access Center has the right to appeal any decision which denies you service. (NOTE: The appeal must follow certain guidelines and time limitations; ask your service provider for a copy of the procedure).If you desire representation in addressing your concerns/dissatisfaction with the Community Access Center (CAC), you have the right to contact the Client Assistance Program (CAP) for assistance. Contact the CAP at 1 (800) 776-5746, (and for the hearing impaired their TTY 1 (800) 576-9269), and you will be referred to a Client Assistance Program not connected with CAC. This will prevent any potential conflict of interest.