In 1996, Disability Resource Association opened as a Center for Independent Living (CIL) to provide basic services for the citizens of Jefferson County, Missouri. At the time, DRA had four staff and an annual operating budget of $205,000. In addition to the five core services that every CIL is mandated to offer (Advocacy, Information and Referral, Independent Living Skills, Peer Support and Mentoring, and Transitions), DRA began developing additional programs to meet vital needs in the community.
By 2001, DRA had grown significantly, having eleven staff and a budget of $419,000. During this time, DRA began the In-home and Consumer Directed Services to provide compassionate and quality in-home personal care to individuals with disabilities. The organization also established an active ADA Compliance and Accessibility Program, Educational Advocacy, Essential Medical Transportation, MO Property Tax Refund Assistance and the Annual Holiday Programs.
Today DRA has grown to a staff of 50 with a budget of over $7,000,000. DRA manages two additional not-for-profits which employ approximately 40 additional staff. DRA has also developed over 20 programs to serve our community.
DRA is the HUD certified Community Housing Development Organization for Jefferson County. Partnering with Golden Seven, LLC, the organization currently has three apartment complexes with 138 affordable housing units in Jefferson County. DRA acts as a lead referral agency and provides services at no cost to the tenants. DRA continues to work on multiple housing projects to expand affordable and accessible housing for low-income individuals with disabilities and seniors in Jefferson County.
DRA has also taken the primary lead of The Homeless Youth Initiative, the Jefferson County Health and Wellness Committee, and the Jefferson County Hunger Task Force. Together we make our community stronger.