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Options For Independent Living helps people stay in their homes

Options For Independent Living helps people stay in their homes

Source: Canva

May 13, 2024 7:58 AM CDT
By: Lisa M. Hale

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GREEN BAY, WI – (WISS & WGBW) – When a person or family is dealing with a physical disability, living independently, might seem daunting. Options for Independent Living is a non-profit organization helping people in Northeast Wisconsin do just that.

“We’re kind of all temporarily able-bodied, right? We never know what’s going to happen. So we always like to hear when people are planning ahead and making their homes accessible,” said Josh Theis, the Executive Director of Options for Independent Living. “Those are calls that we get all the time. People are looking for accessible apartment complexes or accessible housing.”

Josh Theis, the Executive Director for Options for Independent Living says that the organization is disability-led. Their mission is to empower people with disabilities to live independently in their homes and in the community. 

Some of the services that Options for Independent Living offers include advocacy, peer support, Information and referral, skills training, and transition services. However, Theis says they also help people connect with the loan programs they may need to make changes to their homes.

“We work with different state-funded programs that will help people when they are going through the modification process of their home,” said Theis. “It can be really complex. It’s not cheap. And we can help with funding.”

Additionally, Theis says they have a Lend Equipment Network Distribution Program, so people can try different modifications before they make the decision to implement them.

“We have a lot of different assistive technologies. There are things that can help you in the kitchen,” said Theis. “That can be loaned out, free of charge, for people to try it out at their home before they buy it.”

Several thousand people visit the Showcase Model Home at Options for Independent Living on Country Club Road in Green Bay every year. Theis says the home is filled with different technologies and modifications to show what is available. It also allows people to try the modifications to see if it would work for them.

“Really it’s unique to the state, and I think even to the country. I don’t know where there is another showcase model home that’s open to the community, that allows people to come in and use the equipment,” said Theis. “That can be really important and save people a lot of money in the long run.  And also give them ideas for what is possible.”

Theis says modifications in the bathroom and kitchen can make a huge difference in the life of someone with a disability.

Options for Independent Living serves a 17-county area of Northeast Wisconsin and the Fox Valley.  Those counties include the following: Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Sheboygan, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago.

People looking for information on independent living are welcome to visit the website at or phone (920) 490-0500.

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