Our History

How DRA started

The concept of Disability Resource Association was formed in 1995-1996 by a small group of local disability advocates. These advocates established the goal of forming a Center for Independent Living to serve the needs of Jefferson County. During the same time period, Missouri was in the process of deciding how to expand the independent living network within the state. The original group of advocates with the assistance of the Center for Independent Living located in St. Louis, Paraquad, fought for and obtained funding for what is now Disability Resource Association, (DRA).

How DRA Took Shape

In 1996, DRA opened as a satellite location of Paraquad and began providing basic services for the citizens of Jefferson County, Missouri. In late, 1998, DRA broke away from Paraquad and became a free standing not for profit organization. At the time, DRA had four staff and an operating budget of $205,000 annually. After breaking from the parent organization, DRA evolved independently without the input of the other twenty centers in the state of Missouri. This evolution process resulted in DRA taking shapes and forms very different from other Centers for Independent Living in the state

By 2001, DRA had grown significantly having eleven staff and a budget of $419,000. During the period, the organization began the process of seeking outside funding while establishing the Consumer Directed Services Program to generate income. As revenue and staff increased so did the variety of services provided. The organization established an active ADA compliance and accessibility program, educational advocacy, essential medical transportation, MO Property Tax refund assistance, (C.B. Tax Credit), and what would evolve into the holiday programs.

Title VI Notice

Disability Resource Association complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that "no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." For more information on the DRA Title VI program, and the procedures to file a complaint, contact the DRA Executive Director at 636-931-7696; or visit our administrative office at 130 Brandon Wallace Way, Festus MO.63028. DRA will translate all documents as needed. More information is available on our Title VI page.