Prairie Independent Living Resource Center has moved to a new location at 214 South Main and is looking for new sources of revenue so they can expand their services.

A self sustaining organization is the goal of Prairie Independent Living Resource Center. The company has recently moved to a new location in the 200 block of South Main in Pratt and they are searching for ways to help them become less dependent on grants, said Chris Owens, PILR executive director.

Right now PILR exists on state grants and contracts. With the state revenues down, those grants and contracts are less certain than in the past so having a consistent source of revenue is vital.

"We want to be self sustainable," Owens said.

To this end, PILR is going through a process of self evaluation to discover what they can do now and how they can expand their services. They are currently canvassing local businesses to see what services they can offer them now plus finding out what other services they could offer, Owens said.

"We are discovering our social enterprises," Owens said.

A facilitator for a Centers for Independent Living conference, Jean Block, said independent living organizations need to get out of the charity mode because those grants come and go when funding is cut. It struck a cord with Owens and she began working on social enterprise for PIRL to start bringing in some revenue.

Their research in the community not only includes finding out what PILR can do to help the business but is that business willing to pay for those services. It doesn't help their fiscal status if businesses aren't willing to pay for their services.

The PILR services available now can be used for those without disabilities and can be used to help individuals be successful.

Business PILR has looked at have said they need people that are good at soft skills like showing up for work, showing up on time and calling in if they are sick and will have to miss work.

Other PILR services that could be put to more use in the community include helping people get to the doctor and helping people get grocery shopping done if can't get to the grocery store themselves.

"We offer things that help individuals be successful," Owens said.

Above all, PILR doesn't want a hand out. They want to offer a service product that businesses are willing to pay for to increase their income potential.

The bottom line is simple, if the funding goes, it could put PILR and similar organizations in trouble for survival. They are not asking for charity but a chance to provide essential services that businesses are willing to pay for.

This is PILR's twentieth year of operations. They recently took over the former SCTelcom office in the 200 block of South Main in Pratt. They serve Pratt, Dodge City and Hutchinson. They provide a variety of services including interview training, a clothes closet so people that need help can borrow a free garment for a job interview, how to create and stick to a budget, help in locating a place to live and much more.

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