Media & Publications

Marin Organization Begins Emergency Battery Distribution In Downtown San Rafael

Posted on July 29, 2021

SAN RAFAEL, CA – With over a dozen fires currently burning in California, fire season is here. One non-profit, Marin Center for Independent Living (Marin CIL), is stepping in to help residents ready themselves in case of emergency. Located in Downtown San Rafael, Marin CIL focuses on providing support services to individuals living with disabilities and older adults, two populations whose daily living challenges tend to overlap and may be particularly vulnerable when disaster strikes.

Last year saw the organization distribute over 100 of the portable batteries, a goal Execute Director, Eli Gelardin, says he's looking to double for 2021. "As fire season is now something that is recurring and sustained for all of us, we anticipate a greater need. Power outages can be doubly dangerous for those of us that rely on the support of medical devices." Gelardin continued, "As we have seen throughout the pandemic, the health and safety of our community members must continue to be prioritized. It's all about building resiliency."

The batteries are available in two sizes and take about 24 hours to fully charge. With wheels and a retractable handle, the batteries are portable for most residents regardless of age or ability in an emergency. Each battery has 6 outlets, including USB, for running medical devices, and a power light that makes the units easy to find in the dark. The battery distribution is part of Marin CIL's Powered & Prepared, a larger program that also encompasses disaster preparedness planning. The program also includes support for residents to purchase preparedness supplies by distributing over 100 individual gift cards through a network of local partners.

Maurice Pollard, who facilitates the hand-off of the batteries, says that the batteries are extremely easy to use. "Usually, when someone comes in to pick up their battery, I can take them through how it works within 5 minutes. We've had people call back in and tell us how easy they are to use." Pollard recommends that interested Marin County residents apply to the program now, before fire season becomes heavy. "I would hate for anyone in Marin who needs a battery not get one this year. If you apply now, you can have [the battery] on hand and be ready."

For more information about the program and to see if you qualify, visit

Honoring the Journey of Growing Older

Posted on October 30, 2020

Why a master plan on aging? The value of planning to meet the needs of our aging population has never been greater.

Many states, including California, have initiated important steps to develop Master Plans for Aging. To elevate these steps and ensure the voice of older Californians is at the forefront is to listen to older adults, people with disabilities, and those that provide their care and services. One year later, this plenary revisited this effort to highlight these individuals, further understand their experiences, and hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted them.

Residents Relying on
Medical Devices Need to Be Ready

Posted on July 27, 2020

Last October, we all experienced the impact of the rolling public safety power shutoffs that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. implemented to prevent wildfires. While these so-called PSPS events were a huge inconvenience, for Marin's most medically vulnerable residents, they were life threatening.

This year, fire season is an added threat, on top of the daily unknowns and stressors for all of us.

During a PSPS, individuals with access and functional needs (aka AFN residents) lose their lifeline to medical devices such as CPAP breathing machines, oxygen concentrators and powered wheelchairs. These all require a hard-wired power source or are operated by rechargeable batteries. How many people with AFNs live in your community?

Marin's AFN community is significant. It includes people with disabilities, older adults and many other underrepresentedcommunities. Overall, people with AFNs makes up over a third of our county population.

In response to this emerging and critical need, the Marin Center for Independent Living is launching a new initiative in partnership with the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, PG&E and MCE Clean Energy, to support our neighbors who rely on electricity to maintain their life and daily needs. Our goal is simple, to ensure that individuals who are dependent on power are able to safely shelter in place during a power shutoff.

Do you know of someone who is medically dependent on power? We want to make sure that they are connected with our resources and we need your help getting the word out to your family members, friends and neighbors.

Our service offerings include:

  • Distributing high voltage portable batteries to individuals who require electricity for disability or medical reasons during a PSPS. Those with life-sustaining electrical needs will bepriority.
  • Assisting qualified AFN community members in enrolling into the public utility Medical Baseline Program. This program enables individuals who are dependent on power to receive a lower rate on their monthly energy bill and receive advance power shutoff alerts from the utility company.
  • Providing webinars to assist community members in developing personalized disaster preparedness plans, evacuation strategies, and disaster toolkits.
  • Administering PSPS minigrants for individuals who need assistance covering the costs associated with accessible transportation, lodging and food during a planned power shutoff when a portable battery will not be sufficient.
  • Referring eligible community members to local programs that improve Home Health and Energy Efficiency while reducing utility bills via programs administered by MCE and PG&E.

All of these services can be accessed and applied for easily and quickly through our website: We are also hosting virtual EmPOWERment Town Hall meetings to prepare the community for PSPS events. The 90-minute online meetings on the Zoom platform are offered on the following dates: Wednesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m.; Aug 20 and Sept. 22 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The program is offered in Spanish on Aug. 26 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

To expand reach and impact, Marin CIL partners with the Marin County's Health and Human Services Department, the Office of Emergency Services, and Marin's Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster. In addition, several other communitybased organizations are assisting us to reach out. However, to truly make an impact, we need you to become a messenger for this essential program. Let's make sure no one is left behind this fire season.

For the past 41 years, Marin Center for Independent Living has supported older adults and people with disabilities with critical services and advocacy to help them live independently in the community. The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the necessity for everyone to safely "shelter in place" and the need for our services has never been greater.

It's all about preparation. We are stronger if we prepare together.

Eli Gelardin is CEO of the Marin Center for Independent Living.

Marin's (device-reliant) community is significant. It includes people with disabilities, older adults and many other underrepresented communities.

Photo of protesters march from the Gateway Shopping Center to Drake Avenue in Marin City on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. The event was organized in the aftermath of George Floyd's death while in the custody of Minneapolis police.

Black Lives Matter

Posted on June 5, 2020

United in solidarity with our staff, board members, consumers, community members, and allies.

The Marin Center for Independent Living (Marin CIL) rolls and stands in support for social and economic justice. We support the need to end racial bias and hatred now. We vow to uplift the voices of black and brown leaders within Marin County's senior & disability community, and increase our participation in intersectional activities that create platforms focused on racial justice in state policies and practices through legislative action, community organizing and hiring practices. We can learn, listen and do better for our fellow humans.

Thank you to everyone who has put their bodies and lives on the line against these injustices through peaceful protesting. While some of us are unable to physically be with you, we are and will continue to support and organize for change.

Our hearts go out to the family of George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and all the lives impacted by racism, injustice, and violence. Black Lives Matter.

Racism must end.

Photo above of protesters march from the Gateway Shopping Center to Drake Avenue in Marin City on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. The event was organized in the aftermath of George Floyd's death while in the custody of Minneapolis police.

Introducing the Disaster Access
& Resource Program

Posted on May 1, 2020

Program Enables Eligible Customers with Disabilities and Older Customers to get Backup Power, Lodging and More for Use During PSPS Events and Emergencies

SAN RAFAEL, CA — As part of Pacific Gas and Electric Company's (PG&E) commitment to safety and supporting customers and communities, the company will join with the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFLIC) as it supports customers with disabilities and older customers who are most vulnerable when the power goes out.

Known as the Disability Disaster Access and Resources Program, the joint effort will aid the disability, aging and Access and Functional Needs (AFN) population ahead of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), when power is turned off during times of heightened wildfire risk.

The pilot disaster readiness program is being implemented by local Independent Living Centers associated with CFILC. The program will enable the local centers to provide qualifying customers who use electrical medical devices with access to backup portable batteries through a grant, lease-to-own or the FreedomTech low-interest financial loan program. Transportation resources, lodging and food, emergency planning, education and outreach about PG&E programs such as Medical Baseline also will be part of the program.

Applications for portable backup batteries will be available online and at Independent Living Centers across the state. Individuals who use life-sustaining electrical support will be the highest priority. Through the application process, the CFILC's Disaster Resource Advisory Committee will make the ultimate determination about the distribution of resources. CFILC will administer all aspects of the program.

Marin Center for Independent Living (Marin CIL), a forty-one-year-old community-based organization that provides services and advocacy to individuals with all types of disabilities including older adults, is one such program participating. In coordination with other countywide efforts, Marin CIL will work with individuals who utilize assistive technology and medical devices to determine the most appropriate assistance based on power needs.

"Recent events, including the California Wildfires and the COVID-19 Pandemic, has drawn attention to the importance of safely sheltering in place. For people with access and functional needs, this includes having disaster toolkits as well as access to portable batteries to power medical devices. This new partnership will allow Marin CIL to expand our efforts and support the community during an unprecedented time of need," said Eli Gelardin, Marin CIL's Executive Director.

For requests for lodging, transportation and battery backup systems, please email Peter Mendoza, Director of Advocacy: He can also be reached by phone (415) 234-3840.

Coordination of resources takes time, so individuals are encouraged to engage with their local centers and formulate a plan long before a safety shutoff is imminent. Customers can find the location of Independent Living Centers by visiting Hours of operation may be impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This program has the potential to shape the future of how individuals with disabilities and older adults are provided opportunities to engage in training and resources to better prepare all of us during times of emergencies and PSPS events. PG&E and CFILC believe it is critical to give people with disabilities who are at risk the tools and resources they need to be prepared in order to maintain their health and safety," said Christina Mills, CFILC Executive Director.

CFILC serves as a membership association for most of the local Independent Living Centers across PG&E's service area. They are grassroots organizations run by, and for people with disabilities, and they provide a variety of services to people across all types of disabilities and ages. Partnering with centers already working together to support the most vulnerable individuals in PG&E's service area is one of the best ways to reach the disabled community during PSPS events or emergencies.

Turning off the power creates a hardship for all PG&E's customers, and a PSPS can impact vulnerable customers dramatically. By working with and offering financial assistance to CFILC, PG&E can help alleviate some of the disruptive impacts and support the safety and wellness of these customers.

"The ability to successfully help our customers prepare before, during and after a Public Safety Power Shutoff or other events such as a wildfire will depend greatly on community partnerships and associations. At PG&E, we are extremely thankful for CFILC and all they do to provide assistance to Californians. They are uniquely positioned to support the AFN community by providing services and advocacy through their existing programs and campaigns," said Laurie Giammona, PG&E's Chief Customer Officer and a Senior Vice President.

Even before the official program was launched, PG&E and CFILC partnered to provide the AFN community with accessible transportation, lodging, backup batteries and other services during safety shutoffs in 2019.

During events in October and November, more than 1,100 individuals got some assistance from the CFLIC with the support of PG&E. That support includes providing more than 195 batteries for backup power and 217 hotel stays. Additionally, more than 20 customers were provided with accessible transportation to hotels and 122 food vouchers were provided. Many of the local Independent Living Centers provided charging for phones and electric devices.

About California Foundation for Independent Living Centers

The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that increases access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities by building the capacity of Independent Living Centers (ILCs) throughout California. In addition to operating as a membership organization, CFILC has several statewide programs and campaigns that focus on different areas of disability advocacy and provide avenues of success for both their members, the IL Network and more importantly people with disabilities of all ages who chose to live independently in their community of choice.

Independent Living Centers (ILCs) are grassroots organizations run by, for, and about people with disabilities. CFILC's membership includes 23 of California's 28 ILCs and 56 of the state's 58 counties. ILCs provide advocacy services to people across all types of disabilities. Services include peer support, information and referral, direct advocacy, systems change advocacy, housing, assistive technology, independent living skills training, transition and personal assistance services.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 23,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit and

Marin CIL and the Shelter-in-Place Order

Posted on March 19, 2020

Marin CIL is adhering to the Shelter in Place ordinance issued by County of Marin's Public Health Department and has transitioned to a virtual office.

Dear Friends,

Marin CIL is adhering to the Shelter in Place ordinance issued by County of Marin's Public Health Department and has transitioned to a virtual office. We strongly advise that all community members adhere to this ordinance and practice a strict policy of social distancing.

In Marin CIL's virtual office, staff are available through phone, email, or Zoom during our normal work schedules- 9 am to 5pm and all departments continue to provide services. Staff are checking voicemail and email regularly.

While there are many different resources available, we wanted to share a few for our Access and Functional Needs community members and families.

Marin COVID-19 Website:
Marin COVID-19 Hotline: (415) 473-7191
CA Relay Service, Dial 711:

Marin County/Marin Aging and Disability Resource Connection Information & Assistance Line: (415) 457-INFO (4636)

Administration on Community Living COVID-19 Resources:

Plain language resources to help people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, their family members, and professionals:

For emotional support and mental health, the Friendship Line is available 24/7 as a crisis help line for older adults: 800-971-0016 or you can text HOME to 741741 if you are feeling depressed, sad, or going through any kind of emotional crisis. A crisis worker will text you back immediately if you prefer text over the phone, this is a free service.

Warm Line Community Action Marin (Peer to Peer Counseling): (415) 459-6330
Crisis Stabilization Unit: (415) 473-6666
Mobile Crisis Team: (415) 473-6392

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has a regularly updated page for information and guidance:

For CDPH's COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Individuals with Access and Functional Needs, visit

We are committed to providing ongoing support and services to our community during these difficult times.


Photo of Eli Gelardin.

Eli Gelardin
Executive Director