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Telling the People Inc. Story for 50 Years  

The People Inc. story began on August 14, 1970. The agency originally started with just a small group of parents and professionals who joined together to address the needs of people with intellectual disabilities and formed what would grow to become People Inc. Now, the agency is much more – not only in numbers, but also in the programs and services provided for people of all ages and abilities. Today, People Inc. is a leading multispecialty non-profit health and human services agency, providing person-centered and innovative supports to more than 10,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families and older adults throughout Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. As other organizations affiliated with People Inc., services were preserved in the community and expanded to meet the needs of even more people. 

Continuing to Evolve

The variety of our programs and services have evolved to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families, children and older adults. Over the years, People Inc. has expanded these offerings to support even more people to live, work and thrive – to be independent, to have access to numerous supports and health services, as well as affordable, safe housing – all while promoting independence and fulfilling experiences.

Our programs include: Residential Services, Children and Young Adult Services, Community Habilitation, Day Services, Vocational Services and Supported Employment, Family Supports, Respite Services, Self-Directed Services, Health Services, Senior Living and Services for Older Adults, Affordable Apartments and various Business Solutions.

Grateful for Support

People Inc. is so appreciative of its nearly 4,000 dedicated and caring employees, loyal families, committed board members, generous supporters, government leaders and community partners for being a part of the journey for the past five decades. Together, we are People Inc. By developing innovative programs and services, providing opportunities for independence and inclusion – as well as encouraging advocacy and raising funds – People Inc. has formed a strong groundwork, both rich in experience and knowledge for a promising future.

Our Goals and Values

Through collaborative innovation, we continue to support people of all abilities and ages. At People Inc., our organizational values guide our decisions and reflect what sets us apart: Improving Lives, Respect, Integrity, Relentless Pursuit of Excellence, Diversity and Inclusion, Flexibility and Creativity.

The People Inc. logo, a butterfly with the wings containing silhouette faces, represents our agency’s evolution and desire to help people improve their lives and represents a continuum of care – through all ages and stages of life. Our continuing motivation is defined by our motto: Where your world opens up.

We’re pleased to recognize the People Inc. 50th anniversary throughout the year until the end of December 2021. As we move forward, let’s continue to tell the People Inc. story!


1970: People Inc. was formed by a small group of parents and professionals. 

1971: First group home residence opened.

1977: Established first community-based training program. 

1985: Expanded to offer Respite Services for families. 

1986: Established Supported Employment Program, providing support to people with disabilities, allowing them to develop skills to secure meaningful and competitive employment. 

1989: Established Licensed and Certified Home Health Care, open to anyone and specializing in care for people with developmental disabilities. 

1993: Expanded into Senior Living to provide older adults, age 62 and older who meet income requirements, affordable and safe apartments. 

1994: Opened the Elmwood Health Center, specializing in health care for people with developmental disabilities, as well as for the general public, at one convenient and accessible location.

1997: Expanded Home Health Care services to include Consumer-Directed Services, where the person receiving services is the employer and directs his or her own care.

1998: Founded the Museum of disABILITY History, the only museum of its kind in the U.S., providing educational exhibits, programs and publications to create awareness and a platform for dialogue and discovery.

2004: Established Western New York Coalition Pooled Trusts. 

2006: Opened New York State’s first residence for people requiring respiratory assistance.

2009-2014: Earned COMPASS (Consumerism, Outcome, Management Plan and Agency Self-Survey) certification, in which People Inc. was recognized by New York State as the top one percent of disability service agencies.

2011: The Elmwood Health Center introduced electronic medical records and HEALTHeLINK.

Headway of Western New York became an affiliate of People Inc., providing support groups, trainings and educational programs to both survivors and caregivers of brain injury. 

2012: Expanded services to the Greater Rochester region in Monroe County. 

2014: Earned national Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) Accreditation in Person-centered Excellence for proficiency in helping people with developmental disabilities make choices. People Inc. has maintained the accreditation since 2014.

Rivershore, Inc. merged into People Inc., further expanding supports to people with developmental disabilities in Niagara County.

2015: Launched a durable medical equipment supplier, People First Mobility, the agency’s first for-profit venture that leverages its experience to meet community needs.

2016: Southeast Works affiliated with People Inc., doubling the agency’s employment services offered to people living with developmental and other disabilities. 

2017-2020: Established Affordable Apartments, including tax-credit and mixed-housing, for a diverse group of people, meeting age and income requirements. The first building, Highland School Apartments, opened in Tonawanda, NY, in 2017. Additional apartment buildings opened in 2019 with Linwood Lafayette Senior Apartments in Buffalo, NY, followed by Jefferson Avenue Apartments in Buffalo, NY, and Grant Street Apartments in North Tonawanda, NY, both opening in 2020.

2018: Southeast Works merged with People Inc. The existing foundations for Rivershore and Southeast Works continue to raise funds and promote advocacy efforts – the Rivershore Foundation supports people in Niagara County with developmental disabilities to live independently. The Southeast Foundation raises funds to enhance employment opportunities for adults with disabilities supported by People Inc.

2019: Deaf Access Services affiliated with People Inc. to broaden its reach and support the needs of people who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

2020: Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc., a non-profit horseback riding facility, affiliated with People Inc. The facility provides therapeutically-based equine activities for people of all ages with cognitive, physical, emotional and learning disabilities.

Partnerships with other organizations are examples of how People Inc. has grown and diversified its services, while supporting organizations that expand our reach and assisting with managing financial challenges. The agency is thankful to the community and to all of its partners for joining together to be part of the People Inc. family.

Western New York 1219 North Forest Road | P.O. Box 9033 | Williamsville, New York 14231 | Phone: 716.817.7400 | Toll Free NY 1.888.7PEOPLE | Fax: 716.634.3889

Rochester 1860 Buffalo Road | Rochester, NY 14624 | Phone 585.441.9300 | Fax 585.441.9398

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