Disabled Resource Servies (DRS) is a non-profit agency that focuses on helping people gain, regain or maintain their independence; responding to service gaps; advocating for change through call to action; and developing partnerships to accomplish more for the greater good of people with disabilities. This is achieved by a highly skilled, dedicated staff of direct service providers; disability advocates; and members of community-based committees, coalitions and groups that effect change. Due to many having disabilities themselves, they also are positive role models and provide peer support, because they can relate to the people served and their struggles through a shared bond of living with disabilities.
DRS’ recertification in 2012 as a Center for Independent Living places it as one of ten non-profit agencies in Colorado that meets the unique and often complicated needs of people facing heartbreaking situations because of having disabilities and living in extreme poverty. Our staff of 15 (of whom 3 are full time) help them acquire renewed hope, assist with developing a plan to succeed, get needs met and assure they increase their independence, which are the benchmarks for having an improved quality of life.
While DRS helps over 6,000 people annually from providing information and referral resources to issuing needed medical equipment to delivering intensive case management services, there are approximately 8,000-10,000 people with disabilities in Larimer County who are on the brink of homelessness with multiple unmet needs who can benefit from our help. People receiving our services, guidance and support can more readily reach their full potential and enjoy increased independence. This year, our annual Client Survey reported 90% of people receiving our services in 2011 had more independence, thus proving under the most daunting circumstances, independence is possible when people get the help they need.
DRS is here to assist people in need to not only survive but to rebuild their lives and, moreover, thrive. In all we do, we embrace the independent living philosophy: teaching and helping people to take charge of their lives and their futures. This philosophy underscores our mission and our work as a center for independent living. Therefore, beside providing services, we work for more accessible and integrated communities, help keep public services intact for those who need them most and uphold basic civil rights so people with disabilities live with dignity and equality.
The life-giving force that sustains DRS is the financial support it receives. Governmental entities such as the State of Colorado and the City of Fort Collins; private foundations like the Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation; local churches like First Baptist Church; service clubs like the Loveland Lion’s Club and United Way, as well as individual donors create this important infrastructure. This year, DRS received $385,000 for the purchase of the building in Fort Collins we will own by December 2012. The generous award from the City of Fort Collins Community Block Grant Fund not only boosted our budget to nearly one million dollars but also succeed in giving DRS a permanent home.