Updates from #ALOnTheRoad: Dispatch from Peoria, Illinois!


October 5, 2023 | by Amber Smock

Access Living friends and allies,

We’d like to share today’s #ALOnTheRoad update! 

The Access Living road trip crew spent the day yesterday with our colleagues at Advocates for Access, the Center for Independent Living based in Peoria. Advocates for Access serves Peoria, Tazewell, Fulton and Woodford counties in central Illinois.

An illustration of a vintage bus driving towards an outline of the state of Illinois and a road map. Text reads "#ALOnTheRoad"

Peoria is the largest city with just over 110,000 people. As with every Center for Independent Living, Advocates for Access’ staff and board are made up of a majority of people with disbailities.

Advocates for Access and Access Living had an excellent time exchanging information. In breakout sessions we discussed issues such as:

  • Empowering Home Services Program consumers with the tools they need to self-direct personal assistants
  • Increasing opportunities to recreation so that people can enjoy all life has to offer
  • Advocates for Access’ approach to community teamwork in providing home modifications to people with disabilities
  • Resolving the worker shortage in accessible transportation
  • Working with hospitals to improve care and customer service to people with disabilities

Advocates for Access also took us to a few stops in Peoria, Peoria Heights and East Peoria to get an up-close view on the work they do. Our stops were:

  • Tower Park’s brand new accessible playground, where Advocates for Access helped weigh in on design. So much fun on the accessible merry-go-round!
  • Visiting an Advocates for Access consumer who lives in an affordable, accessible housing development and hearing his paratransit issues.
  • Visiting the construction site for Bob Michel Bridge, where Advocates for Access won a commitment for a sidewalk on the bridge wide enough for two wheelchair users to pass each other.

A big shout-out is due to Advocates for Access Executive Director Jeannine McAllister and Director of Operations Jodi Scott, and the whole Advocates for Access team especially Thane Hunt, Personal Assistant Coordinator who wears many hats. Board President Mike Van Cleve shared his expertise in real estate and housing. Thank you for your warm welcome and engagement!

Next up, Access Living is visiting Stone-Hayes Center for Independent Living, as well as Bridgeway Inc. It will be another awesome day. Don’t forget to look for our updates at @AccessLiving and #ALOnTheRoad!