Consumer Control, Voting, and Membership

The Independent Living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann, Inc. is a service and advocacy organization run by and for people with disabilities. ILCNSCA supports the struggle of people who have all types of disabilities to live independently and participate fully in community life. Persons who receive our services are called consumers. Consumers choose what services they want from ILCNSCA and they determine what, how and when to reach their independent living goals.

Consumer Control is the driving force in the Independent Living Movement. Consumer Control is tied to the same concepts of self-reliance and self-determination that are essential for all adults in our society. Whether disabled or not, people want and need to exert control over their own lives. When individuals have a sense of personal rights, autonomy, they also have the confidence to act on those rights.

Congress in its passage of Title 7 of the Rehabilitation Services Act with input from the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) has defined core principles and services for all Independent Living Centers (ILC's) as a basis of operation. By setting these standards for ILC's Congress has guaranteed that all ILC's including the Independent Living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann (ILCNSCA) adhere to and uphold consumer control and it's philosophy.


  1. Choice
  2. Significant participation in society
  3. Authoritative influence and a role in decision-making
  4. The right to take risks
  5. Having personal control over life choices, services and activities
  6. And the exercise of that power.

The consumer control philosophy which ILCNSCA practices is as follows:

  • Consumer control at the policy level of ILCNSCA is insured by a Board of Directors comprised of a majority of persons with disabilities;
  • Executive Director at ILCNSCA must be a person with a disability;
  • Extensive representation of persons with disabilities among our administrative and service delivery staff;
  • Emphasis on services to a cross disability consumer population;
  • Commitment to consumer-directed goal choices and attainment of service objectives;
  • Provision of core services: information and referral, peer counseling, Independent Living skills training, individual advocacy and community advocacy. We at ILCNSCA embrace self-determination, autonomy and independence in our daily operations and long term planning.

Voting Members Ensure Consumer Control

  1. Voting members must meet at least one of the following criteria:
    1. Must have a disability
    2. Be regarded as having a disability
    3. Must live or work in our service area
    4. Or receive service at the center
  2. Voting Members have the right to nominate candidates for the Board of Directors- this includes their own nomination.
  3. Voting Members have the exclusive right to vote for candidates who will serve on the Board of Directors- Your vote counts!
    1. Board Members are your representatives and are directly involved and determine policy and decision-making.
    2. Board Members are your voice.

Non-Voting Members

  1. Non-voting Members must believe in the Independent Living/Consumer Control philosophy
  2. Non-voting Members are family, community members, and fellow service providers who want to offer support to the center and the center's mission.

As with all voting opportunities, it is each of our responsibility and right to vote in an organization or government that upholds democracy and voting. ILCNSCA encourages all to vote in our local, statewide and national elections as well as to be active in the ILCNSCA elections at our annual meeting each October.

If you need assistance to register to vote in statewide and national elections, ILCNSCA can assist you in completion of required registration to vote forms. If you would like to vote in our Annual Meeting election of ILCNSCA Board members, become a member.

ILCNSCA Membership

Consumer choice and control is also manifested by the voting membership electing the Board members of the organization. The Board is the legal entity responsible for the legal, planning, public relations and fiduciary requirements of the organization. The ILCNSCA Board hires the Executive Director.

Voting and non-voting members are the supporters on the North Shore and Cape Ann for consumer control and independent living by persons with disabilities. Voting and non-voting members are the leaders for increasing accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the access regulations of the Commonwealth. Voting and nonvoting members are the collective voice of persons with disabilities on the North Shore and Cape Ann.

You can be a member, voting or non-voting, of the ILCNSCA. You will receive our quarterly newsletter. You will receive special mailings regarding events/activities of interest to persons with disabilities and their supporters. You will receive announcements of special information sessions and political actions affecting the lives of persons with disabilities. You have access to our resource materials.

Thank you for your support and participation!