Persons with disabilities comprise a large percentage of New York’s total population. The legislature hereby finds and declares that action is necessary to assist these individuals to integrate and live more independently in the community. Since their inception, service centers for independent living have enhanced the ability of persons with disabilities to pursue an independent and active lifestyle within their community. In order to achieve this, it is necessary for the state to provide funding to maintain existing service centers designed to promote independent living and to encourage the establishment of new centers. In addition, the office of vocational rehabilitation should have the responsibility and authority for the encouragement of the planning, development, funding, evaluation and monitoring of such service centers.