Community Living Policy Center

Community Living Equity Center


The Community Living Equity Center (CLEC) examines how systemic racism, ableism, and xenophobia in the United States produce significant inequities for disabled people of color.

While research has been conducted on how disabled people of color access, use, experience, and are affected by education, healthcare, employment, and penal systems, little has been done to understand racial and ethnic disparities in community living. There is currently no formal definition of “community living,” either at the statutory level or by general consensus. However, the term has been closely aligned with the idea of services and supports that allow individuals with disabilities to remain in their homes and communities rather than in nursing homes or other institutional settings.

This lack of data hinders the development of equitable policies and effective interventions. It also perpetuates and reinforces the inequities faced by historically marginalized communities.

Led by an active and effective Community Advisory Committee made up of racially and ethnically diverse people with disabilities, the CLEC is focused on the following goals:

  • Generate detailed new knowledge about participation disparities in community living.
  • Develop or identify effective systems-change initiatives or other promising practices that reduce community-living participation disparities.
  • Serve as a national resource for community living and participation research that recognizes the unique challenges faced by people with disabilities from traditionally underserved communities.

By addressing the current knowledge gaps about the inequities in community living, participation experiences, and outcomes, the CLEC will develop new policies and systems-change initiatives. These will be actively disseminated to community stakeholders.

Below is a conceptual framework for how community-living equity can be achieved. Both the society level and the level of the HCBS service and delivery system influence the existence of disparities. Community-living equity would mean the elimination of these disparities.

Conceptual Framework for Community-Living EquityFIGURE. Macro-, meso-, and micro-level conceptual framework of how community-living equity would work to eliminate disparities. At the macro (most general) level, Society includes systemic racism, ableism, and other bias in policies and practices. At the meso (or intermediary) level, the HCBS Service and Delivery System includes cultural and linguistic training and appropriateness, self-direction, peer support, and leadership. At the micro (or individual and family) level, Individuals Needing LTSS includes intersectional identities. Both society and the HCBS service and delivery system affect the existence of disparities experienced by individuals, such as in access to HCBS, utilization, quality, inclusion, and community-living and health outcomes.

The overarching goal of the CLEC is to address gaps in our knowledge about inequities in community living and participation experiences and outcomes faced by disabled people of color and develop interventions to address equity, by leveraging existing and new data sources, developing new policy and systems change initiatives, and through active dissemination of findings and trainings for stakeholders.

More about CLEC's Work