Community Living

Woman in a wheelchair amongst crowd of an outdoor concert

Rural communities often lack services and resources to support the independent living and participation of people with disabilities. The availability of community resources, as well as access to those resources, has a large impact on the experience of disability. 

RTC:Rural's Community Living research works to understand how rural people with disabilities access needed resources and to help develop sustainable models for rural service providers to carry out community development activities to meet the needs of rural people with disabilities.

Community infrastructure and accessibility impact quality of life for many people with disabilities. Advocacy and CILs can help address barriers.


Mapping the digital divide: What predicts internet access across America?

June 2023 | Lillie Greiman, Arin Leopold, Catherine Ipsen & Andrew Myers | Local Development and Society | PDF; online access

Creating a Resource Map with Google My Maps

2023 | Lillie Greiman, Rayna Sage & Genna Mashinchi | University of Montana Rural Institute | PDF; Word doc; EPUB; toolkit components Excel files

Rural Community Living Development Peer Mentoring: A Strategy for Sustainable Knowledge Translation

2023 | Rayna Sage | Center for Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Knowledge Translation Casebook, American Institutes for Research | online access

Outcome Measurement Toolkit: A Resource for Centers for Independent Living

March 2023 | Krys Standley, Jeff Gutierrez & Tracy Boehm Barrett | University of Montana Rural Institute | PDF; Word document

Understanding successful transition to independent living: A qualitative study of young adults with disabilities

February 2023 | Jonathan A. Schulz, Lyndsie M. Koon, Lillie Greiman, Hayley A. Steinlag & Jean P. Hall | Children and Youth Services Review | online access; abstract; pdf

Rural disability and community participation

October 2022 | Catherine Ipsen, Jean Hall & John Lui | Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences | PDF; online access

“Sympathy” vs.“Empathy”: Comparing experiences of I2Audits and disability simulations

September 2022 | Emily Hicks, Meg Traci & Karin Korb | Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences | PDF; online access

Exploring environmental measures in disability: Using Google Earth and Street View to conduct remote assessments of access and participation in urban and rural communities

August 2022 | Tom Seekins, Meg Traci & Emily Hicks | Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences | PDF; online access

Is teaching skills for independent living to disabled adults associated with change in self-determination? 

September 2021 | Craig Ravesloot, Tannis Hargrove, Tracy Boehm-Barrett, Krys Standley & Mary Willard | University of Montana Rural Institute | PDF; EPUB; Word doc

Exploring access to independent living services for people with disabilities through a transportation network analysis

June 2021 | Kourtney B. Johnson, Lillie Greiman, Christiane VonReichert & Billy Altom | Journal of Policy Studies | online access

Community Assessment for Accessible Rural Events Toolkit

December 2019 | RTC:Rural | University of Montana Rural Institute |online access; PDF; Excel

Chapter 4 - Disability and rural events: the cultural reproduction of inclusion and exclusion

January 2019 | Rayna Sage & Erin Flores | Marginalisation and Events | Book chapter

Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit 

2017 | RTC:Rural, Summit Independent Living (BASE) & Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living | RTC:Rural | Toolkit components available in PDF, PowerPoint, Word docs

A comparative analysis of Center for Independent Living staff and board of directors regarding CIL services and consumer participation

March 2017 | Craig Ravesloot, Glen White, Chiaki Gonda-Kotani & Kelsey Shinnick | Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community | online access and PDF

How-to guide: Writing effective letters to decision makers
1984, revised May 2017 | Tom Seekins & Stephen B. Fawcett | Rural Institute | PDF

How-to guide: Creating your personal testimony to influence policy change

1984, revised May 2017 | Tom Seekins & Stephen B. Fawcett | Rural Institute | PDF

How-to guide: Finding and using data for advocacy

1984, revised May 2017 | Tom Seekins & Stephen B. Fawcett | Rural Institute | PDF

Significant data limitations prevent an accurate analysis of the distribution of CILs: Recommendations for change 

September 2015 | Lillie Greiman & Tom Seekins | Rural Institute | PDF

A guide for creating a community resource map 

May 2014 | Lillie Greiman & Tracy Boehm | Rural Institute | PDF

Developing methods for grading the accessibility of a communality’s infrastructure 

September 2012 | Tom Seekins, Nancy Arnold & Catherine Ipsen | Journal of Urban Planning and Development | abstract; PDF available

Working with community partners to promote visit-ability in a rural state 

April 2010 | Meg Ann Traci & Desirae N. Ware | Disability and Health Journal | abstract; PDF available

Moving from independence to interdependence: A conceptual model for better understanding community participation 

2010 | Glen White, Jamie Lloyd Simpson, Chiaki Gonda, Craig Ravesloot & Zach Coble | Journal of Disability Policy Studies | PDF

Assessing environmental factors that affect disability: Establishing a baseline of visitability in a rural state 

February 2008 | Tom Seekins, Meg Ann Traci, Susan Cummings, Joanne Oreskovich & Craig Ravesloot
Rehabilitation Psychology | abstract; PDF available 

Center for Independent Living services and their effect on community participation: Measuring CIL services 

2011 |  Glen White & Craig Ravesloot | KU Research & Training Center on Independent Living | video and factsheet 

Nursing home emancipation: A preliminary study of efforts by Centers for Independent Living in urban and rural areas 

October 2011 | Tom Seekins, Craig Ravesloot, Marsha Katz, Bob Liston, Mike Oxford, Billy Altom, Glen White, Richard Petty & Bob Kafka | Disability and Health Journal | online access and PDF

Moving from independence to interdependence: A conceptual model for better understanding community participation of Centers for Independent Living Consumers

2010 | Glen White, Jamie Lloyd Simpson, Chiaki Gonda, Craig Ravesloot & Zach Coble | 
Journal of Disability Policy Studies | PDF

Rural Practice Guidelines: Involving people with disabilities as members of advisory groups 

March 2004, revised September 2007 | Montana Disability & Health Program | online content

Affordable and accessible housing matters for security, safety, and social participation.


On The Home Usability Program website you can learn about home usability and the role it can play in independent living. You also can explore how to make your home more usable for you.


Is the presence of home entrance steps associated with community participation of people with mobility impairments?

August 2021 | Craig Ravesloot, Andrew Myers, Lillie Greiman, Bryce Ward, Kelsey Shinnick & Jean Hall | Disability and Health Journal | PDF

Effects of a consumer driven home modification intervention on community participation for people with mobility disabilities

August 2021 | Lillie Greiman, Craig Ravesloot, Kelsey Shinnick-Goddard & Bryce Ward | Disability and Health Journal | PDF

Using the ACS PUMS to examine disability and migration

February 11, 2020 | Christiane von Reichert | Annual Disability Statistics Compendium | archived video, transcription, and presentations

Chapter 1: Community starts at home: Toward equitable housing for people with disabilities

October 2019 | Andrew Myers, Lillie Greiman, Brendan Hogg, Rayna Sage & Craig Ravesloot | Society, Space, and Social Justice: Geographies of Intersectionality | Book chapter

Rural–urban patterns of disability: The role of migration

October 2019 | Christiane von Reichert & E. Helen Berry | Population, Space and Place | PDF; online access

Life starts at home: Bathing, exertion and participation for people with mobility impairment

July 2018 | Lillie Greiman, S. Parker Fleming, Bryce Ward, Andrew Myers & Craig Ravesloot | Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation | PDF

Housing characteristics of households with wheeled mobility device users from the American housing survey: Do people live in homes that facilitate community participation?

November 2015 | Lillie Greiman & Craig Ravesloot | Community Development | PDF; online access; audio version 

Map facts: Disability in rural America

February 2014 | Tom Seekins & Lillie Greiman | University of Montana Rural Institute | PDF

Infographics for home and community accessibility in the American Housing Survey

2014 | University of Kansas Research & Training Center on Independent Living (RTC/IL) & RTC:Rural | RTC/IL | PDF; text-only

Visitability testimonies increase affordable, accessible housing in Montana 

2011 | Meg Traci, R. Licitra & E. Smith | National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Human Development and Disability | PDF

Rural people with disabilities face transportation issues that can make it difficult to get medical care, maintain a job, and participate in community life.


The Toolkit for Operating a Rural Transportation Voucher Program provides a model that describes how to bring together community members and resources to develop and operate a transportation system for people with disabilities in rural areas.


America at a glance: Transportation use during the Covid-19 pandemic among disabled adults in rural and urban areas

January 2023 | Andrew Myers | University of Montana Rural Institute | PDF; EPUB; Word document

Transportation patterns of adults with travel-limiting disabilities in rural and urban america

April 2022 | Andrew Myers, Catherine Ipsen & Krys Standley | Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences | PDF; online access

America at a glance: 5310 & 5311 transportation funding in rural counties

February 2021 | Andrew Myers & Ari Lissau | University of Montana Rural Institute | PDF; EPUB; Word document

America at a glance: How do working-age adults with travel-limiting disabilities get around? 

May 2020 | Andrew Myers, Catherine Ipsen & Lauren Smith | University of Montana Rural Institute | PDF; text-only Word doc; text-only EPUB

Navigating time and space: How Americans with disabilities use time and transportation

November 2015 | Andrew Myers & Craig Ravesloot | Community Development | PDF; online access

What is unavailable, insufficient or inappropriate transportation? 

2013 | RTC:Rural | Rural Institute | PDF

Section 5310 transportation state management plans: A baseline review 

2011 | Alexandra Enders & Tom Seekins | Journal of Public Transportation | PDF

The New Freedom Initiative Transportation Program 

May 2010 | Tom Seekins, Alexandra Enders & Grace Silvia | Rural Institute | PDF

Models of rural transportation for people with disabilities. Rural Practice Guidelines 

February 2007 | Tom Seekins | Rural Institute | PDF

Faith based organizations: A potential partner in rural transportation

2007 | Tom Seekins, Steve Bridges, Annesa Santa, Daniel J. Denis & Andrea Hartsell | Journal of Public Transportation | PDF

Allocation and use of Section 5310 funds in urban and rural America

2007 | Tom Seekins, Alexandra Enders, Alison Pepper & Stephen Sticka | Journal of Public Transportation | PDF

Accessible rural transportation: An evaluation of the traveler's cheque voucher program 

September 2006 | Linda Gonzales, Dennis Stombaugh, Tom Seekins & Devva Kasnitz | Community Development | PDF and online access

Progress toward equity in rural transportation: An update on SAFETEA-LU

2006 | Tom Seekins | Rural Institute | PDF

Many people with disabilities require personal assistance services to live independent and self-determined lives.


"Just trying to adjust to the new reality that seems to be changing every hour": Lessons learned from nation-wide peer meetings on COVID-19 with rural disability service providers

August 2023 | Krys Standley, Lillie Greiman & Rayna Sage | Community Development | online access; PDF; EPUB

Challenges and opportunities in personal assistance services in rural contexts

November 2022 | Krys Standley, Rayna Sage & Carissa Russell | University of Montana Rural Institute | PDF; EPUB; Word document

"Everything is a mess. I'm just trying to survive it.": Impacts of COVID-19 on personal assistance services

November 2022 | Rayna Sage, Krys Standley & Catherine Ipsen | Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved | online access; abstract

Personal Care Aides: Assessing self-care needs and worker shortages in rural areas

October 2022 | Susan A. Chapman, Lillie Greiman, Timothy Bates, Laura M. Wagner, Ari Lissau, Kirsi Toivanen-Atilla & Rayna Sage | Health Affairs | online access; PDF

Exploring metro and non-metro differences in satisfaction with service and community participation among low-income personal assistance service users

May 2022 | Catherine Ipsen, Bryce Ward & Andrew Myers | Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences | PDF; online access

“Less time committed to care”: Beliefs about Electronic Visit Verification among adults using home-based personal assistance services

March 2022 | Rayna Sage, Genna M. Mashinchi, Ari Lissau, Krys Standley & Justice Ender | Home Healthcare Now | online access; abstract

Personal Care Assistance in Rural America

2021 | Lillie Greiman, Rayna Sage, Tim Bates, Ari Lissau, Laura Wagner & Susan Chapman | ArcGIS StoryMaps | webpage

"It's a human connection...": Paid Caregiving in Rural America

2021 | Rayna Sage, Lillie Greiman, Ari Lissau, Laura Wagner, Kirsi Toivanen-Atilla & Susan Chapman | ArcGIS StoryMaps | webpage