News, ways to give, program updates and more!
News, ways to give, program updates and more!
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A supported employment participant with co-workers.
People Inc. Celebrates Black History Month
As part of our agency values and ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, People Inc. is proud to recognize the importance of Black history and the countless accomplishments of Black Americans who have made and continue to make a difference – including many of our staff and people we support. February is Black History Month and this year’s national theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” which explores the diversity and representation of the Black Family in America, both in the present and through varying historical lenses. Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States in February to honor the triumphs, accomplishments and adversities faced by Black Americans. It is hoped that through celebration and education, the voices and contributions of Black people, which have too often been erased and underrepresented in the national historical narrative, will be heard. Learn more from the founders of Black History Month, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).
Advice from People Inc. Senior Living Couple for a Happy Marriage and Relationship
Liz and Carl Blessing will be married 28 years this August. Tenants of People Inc. Willow Senior Living in Wheatfield, NY, they were featured in our February 2019 issue of our People Inc. In The News e-newsletter. They continue to enjoy a strong relationship and still focus on making sure they laugh. Since February is considered the month of love, here’s some quick advice from Liz and Carl for a happy relationship.
  1. Respect each other.
  2. Laugh together – lots of laughs are important.
  3. Communication is essential.
  4. Value the other’s opinion – listen – you don’t have to agree, but hear each other out.
  5. Say “I love you” to each other daily.
Now those are some great tips for couples of all generations. We wish Liz and Carl continued laughter and love.
Jason Smith, as he meets his idol Stevie Wonder!
Telling the People Inc. Story Historical Moment
During Black History Month, and all year long, People Inc. honors the contributions made to our agency by Black staff members and volunteers throughout our agency’s past 50 years. We also recognize the many achievements of people supported by our agency. We’re proud to have a diverse group of caring staff and volunteers, reflective of the communities we support. A successful day at any People Inc. program or location is made possible by a team of people who enjoy their everyday work and time, while providing quality supports and companionship. At People Inc., you will meet dedicated staff and volunteers, helping people of all abilities, backgrounds and ages. Dawson Henderson (pictured right), who has been a People Inc. Companion Program volunteer since 2015, exemplifies compassion. He assists Albert Brice (pictured left), a recipient of the program. Dawson shared, “I enjoy helping people, so I began volunteering as a Senior Companion. People need us, some don’t have family, so I give them friendship and companionship.” We are pleased to have Dawson, like so many other Senior Companion Program volunteers, provide this camaraderie, and are grateful to people like Albert, who trust our agency for support. We’re so happy to have them as part of our People Inc. family.
More of our agency’s historical moments are included in a photo album on the People Inc. Facebook.
People Inc. Receives Proclamation from Springville for 50th Anniversary
On Tuesday, January 19, the Village of Springville presented a proclamation recognizing the 50th anniversary of People Inc. The announcement acknowledges the agency’s achievements, the people we support and the incredible dedication of our employees, including 10 staff members who reside in Springville. Additionally, we’re pleased to support older adults with affordable apartments in Springville, where our People Inc. Orchard Senior Living is located. We are so grateful for this recognition!
Cover of People Inc. Foundation 2021 calendar.
2 beautiful Embrace the Difference bracelets.
Support Us: Two Ways to Give with Exclusive Benefits
Did you know you can help assist the thousands of people we support each day? The People Inc. Foundation helps fund quality of life programs and health care, specifically tailored to more complicated special needs, along with staff training and development to keep up with current trends and emergencies. Plus, some of the funds raised are designated to support the future of our agency. Whether a family member, a business leader or someone who calls our region “home,” the People Inc. Foundation is grateful for your generosity. Here are two ways to give to People Inc., both including exclusive gifts:
Donate $10 a Month and Receive an Exclusive Calendar: Join us as a People Inc. Foundation Supporting Member by pledging a recurring gift of $10 a month or a one-time gift of $100 or more annually. As a token of our appreciation, Supporting Members receive an exclusive 2021 calendar! In honor of our agency’s 50th anniversary, this year’s calendar theme tells the People Inc. story through historical photos from over the years! Become a Supporting Member today!
Receive Exclusive People Inc. 50th Anniversary Keepsake: Your support impacts what we can do and has kept us going for the past 50 years. Support the People Inc. 50th Anniversary through our new Patron Donor level of $150 or more. With this donation, we’re pleased to offer an exclusive 50th Anniversary Patron Keepsake, featuring special Embrace the Difference© bracelets. Patron Donors can choose from two options, both with a People Inc. 50th Anniversary charm. These exclusive bracelets were designed as a lasting symbol of unity and support of our mission. The beautiful bracelets can be for yourself or we can send one as a surprise to another person on your behalf! Patron Donors also receive all Supporting Member benefits.
For more information about these ways to support People Inc., contact Jennifer Robinson at or call 716.817.7269.
An artist working on the mural.
Save the Date: Get into the ‘Swing’ of Things
Mark your calendars! Plans are underway for our Annual People Inc. Drive Fore Disabilities Golf Tournament, which will be held on Monday, August 16, at the Orchard Park Country Club, 4777 South Buffalo Street, Orchard Park, NY. If you have questions or would like to support this event, contact Melanie Brown at or call 716.817.7450.
An artist working on the mural.
Make a Gift in Your Will or Trust
If you’re interested to learn how you can make a gift in your Will or Trust to benefit People Inc., contact Christine Mathieu at
The People Inc. Elmwood Health Center Article 28 Primary Care Services will
Change to Evergreen Health

It was recently announced that Evergreen Health will acquire the Elmwood Health Center, an affiliate of People Inc. Under this agreement, operations of the Elmwood Health Center primary
care clinic, located at 2128 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, NY, will shift to Evergreen Health some time later this year. The ownership of the adult and pediatric primary care services, gynecology, podiatry and neurology will be transferred from the Elmwood Health Center to Evergreen Health at a newly-expanded health center at 1870 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo (corner of Elmwood and Hertel Avenues). Patients will continue to be cared for by the same primary care providers and health center staff.
The physical building (1870 Elmwood) will continue to be owned by People Inc., with the primary care services and pharmacy operated under Evergreen Health. People Inc. Article 16, rehabilitation and mental health counseling services, along with our durable medical equipment affiliate, People First Mobility, will also be operating at this new site. Patients will also be able to benefit from ECMC dental services, which will be newly available at this future location. During the upcoming months, patient needs for Article 28 medical services will continue to be met at the Elmwood Health Center at 2128 Elmwood Avenue. Patients have been notified of the future change by letter and will be notified again when operations are to begin at the new building.
Known in the area for its exceptional healthcare for more than 40 years, we’re pleased to be partnering with Evergreen Health. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, People Inc. began identifying potential partners and chose Evergreen Health for its similar mission and experience supporting those who are underserved by the healthcare system. Evergreen Health is an “FQHC-lookalike status,” which will bring in rates that can sustain operations, whereas the Elmwood Health Center has had unsustainable rates for years.
We are extremely grateful to the Elmwood Health Center team for their outstanding commitment to providing high-quality care, proven by the loyal patient base.
People Inc. continues to operate various health services, including Early Intervention, certified and licensed People Home Health Care, Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, rehabilitation and mental health counseling, as well as Virtual Medical Care that was initiated this past year.
Staff Kudos
We’re happy to recognize our team of staff for their accomplishments:
Thank you DSPs: In a recent meeting via Microsoft Teams, managers from our Community Active People Program (CAPP), Day Skills and Personal Enrichment Program wore blue in honor of People Inc. direct support professionals. They also held up signs thanking our frontline heroes!
Shannell Davis, a Rochester-based member of our Self-Advocacy team and a previous member of the People Inc. ETHOS AmeriCorps Program, is making a difference in our community. Shannell recognized that there weren’t many advocacy outlets for Black people with developmental disabilities in New York State, so she formed “The Underground,” an advocacy group that aims to support this demographic. Shannell’s important work was recently featured by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.
DeWan Stroud, director of Diversity and Inclusion at People Inc., recently joined the Board of Directors of the National Federation for Just Communities (NFJC). He was recommended by Brad Watts, People Inc. community coordinator, who serves on the NFJC board as vice chair. NFJC supports its member organizations in the human relations work of building communities by advancing inclusion and justice throughout the United States.
COVID-19 Updates
COVID-19 Updates, Resources and Vaccine Information
People Inc. continues to monitor regional experiences with COVID-19, while operating in a proactive manner with a range of precautionary measures. Our primary goal is to maintain a safe and healthy environment for both people we support and our staff throughout the pandemic. The People Inc. Emergency Preparedness Team continues to be engaged in monitoring any potential changes in our service areas and will adjust agency policies accordingly. For ongoing agency updates, refer to the Coronavirus section of our website, which was recently enhanced to include an easily accessible page for these updates.
Informational Session for Families
People Inc. is hosting an Informational Session for Families on Thursday, February 25, at 6:30 p.m. Agency management will provide operational updates and projected plans. Questions may be sent in advance, and during the call, to, or texted to 716.868.9233. RSVP to 716.817.7400 to receive the conference call number and access code. Please note: An RSVP is needed because even if the conference call phone number remains the same, a new unique access code is issued specific to each call.
COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Information
COVID-19 vaccine information and myths have been in the news a lot lately. At People Inc.,
we have been sharing and encouraging our staff and people we support to review fact-based information about the approved COVID-19 vaccinations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). People Inc. is proud to have been authorized by the NYS Department of Health to dispense the COVID-19 vaccine to many of our staff and people living in our residential group homes, who were included in the Phase 1A rollout. Vaccine is provided to our agency in limited doses and we have partnered with Erie County to be used as a dispensing site for their vaccinations on a limited scheduled basis. We also look forward to continuing our partnerships with other approved community locations to access more vaccinations. Information is available on our website with links to Pfizer and Moderna vaccine materials, along with the Informed Consent Form, which is for both vaccines. Additionally, COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions is also available on this web page.
People Inc. Resources Available
  • Families are welcome to call group homes and programs with specific questions.
  • A special Coronavirus Phone Line has been established for families to call, 716.817.7445.
  • An afterhours Coronavirus hotline is available for families and people enrolled in our Day Habilitation Programs and Vocational Services to share questions. The number is 716.529.6505.
  • A special email address is available to have concerns addressed at
  • The People Inc. Advocacy Department continues to help people who receive supports stay connected and informed through Zoom video and phone conferences. Our Advocacy Phone Line is available for people we support to ask non-emergency questions by calling 716.322.7070.
We Love Our Essential DSPs
Sign-on bonus available for some designated positions
We love our team of essential DSPs! You or someone you know can join our team of nearly 4,000 strong and help people achieve their goals! As an essential employer, we’re hiring for evenings, overnights and weekends for a variety of part time, full time and per diem jobs to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Many of our positions qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine. A sign-on bonus of $600 for full time and $300 for part time is now available for some designated positions. We are also seeking behavior technicians, RNs and LPNs, to name a few of our agency’s rewarding careers. We offer virtual interviews, paid training, a variety of consistent schedules and career advancement. We also offer health insurance, paid time off and tuition reimbursement, along with other great benefits for various openings across Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. Featured positions for this month are located in our Clarence Center, East Aurora, Farnham, Grand Island, Orchard Park and Springville group homes. To apply or to view all employment openings, go to the People Inc. Job Board or call 716.322.7050 for more information.
People Inc. Announces “Family and Friends Virtual Tours”
If you are a person seeking supports, family seeking services for a loved one, teacher/school transition coordinator or a care coordinator, we would like to invite you to join us for the monthly People Inc. Family and Friends Virtual Tours. Register in advance for your seat to a behind-the-scenes look at many of our Day and Vocational Programs. The next tour departs on Friday, March 19. All tours are accessible through Microsoft Teams and begin at 9 a.m. To sign up for a tour, contact Lindsey Rosenberg at or call Admissions at 716.880.3700 (Western New York) or 585.441.9300 (Greater Rochester region). Meeting information will be sent for each tour, once your registration is received. Additional tour dates are available on this flyer, which can be shared with anyone who might be interested.
Now Accepting Recipients for Senior Companion “Phone Connection"
The People Inc. Senior Companion Program is providing a “Phone Connection” for recipients who qualify and would benefit from making regular connections with people. This initiative serves as an alternative to providing in-home visits, which are limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is now enrolling recipients who are 55 or older and living in Erie County. They will receive the benefit of socialization with a friendly voice. Senior Companion volunteers will call recipients once a week and share any concerns with program staff, who then make referrals to family members or other resources. Registering for the program is free and easy. To enroll or to recommend an older adult whom you assist, contact Alissa Yax at or 716.768.2381.
Affordable Apartments Accepting Applications
Looking for an apartment or know someone who is? As part of its Affordable Apartments service, People Inc. is accepting applications for available apartments and waiting lists. The apartments include: Kitchen with refrigerator, stove and dishwasher; utilities for water and garbage removal; on-site laundry facilities; safety features; air-conditioning and on-site management. Amenities may vary. Tenants may have one small pet. Section 8 vouchers are accepted. Some apartments are designed specifically for people who may have mobility issues, are legally blind or who may be Deaf or hard of hearing. Here’s the latest information about some of our apartments:
Jefferson Avenue Apartments, located at 1140 and 1166 Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, NY: 18+ years of age who are income-eligible, physically disabled and or intellectually/developmentally disabled. One- and two-bedroom apartments available. Rental applications are currently being accepted for one-bedroom units for people who are I/DD.
Info: Email or call 716.880.3890
The apartments listed below, with requirements, have a waitlist for the one- and two-bedroom units:
Grant Street Apartments, 25 Grant Street, North Tonawanda, NY: 18+ years of age and who are income-eligible, physically disabled and or intellectually/developmentally disabled.
Highland School Apartments, 105 Highland Avenue, Tonawanda, NY: 18+ years of age and who are income-eligible, traumatic brain injury (TBI), physically disabled and or intellectually/developmentally disabled.
Linwood Lafayette Senior Apartments, 637 Linwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY: 55+ years of age and who are income-eligible, physically disabled and or intellectually/developmentally disabled.
To learn more about these apartments, email or call 716.880.3890.
Affordable Senior Apartments in Southern Tier and Lockport
NOW available: One-bedroom Tax Credit apartment unit at
Academy Place Senior Apartments in Gowanda, managed by People Inc. The apartment building, ideal for older adults in the Southern Tier, is located at 1 School Street in Gowanda, NY. The HUD Section 202 Affordable Housing and NYS Tax Credit apartments provide housing for independent, older adults age 62 and up who meet income guidelines. Vouchers are accepted for Tax Credit units. View a video of this apartment building.
Download an application or call 716.817.9090.
Additionally, People Inc. Pine Senior Living in Lockport, NY (border of Amherst), provides affordable apartments, with rent based on income and offers numerous safety features for independent, older adults age 62 and over who are income-eligible. The apartment building is located off Transit Road near Millersport Highway.
Info: Call 716.433.3381
To learn more about other People Inc. Senior Living locations throughout Western New York, email or call 716.817.9090.
News from Deaf Access Services
Raising Awareness and Support
Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc., is pleased to share the following updates to spread awareness and encourage support for the Deaf and hard of hearing communities:
D’Youville College and Deaf Access Services are partnering on a three-part series in recognition of Deaf History Month, which falls during March 15 through April 15. This will include a panel of Deaf and hard of hearing people, who will discuss their experiences and a presentation from Pamela Conley, a professor from RIT/NTID, who will present about The Beginnings of American Sign Language in United States. Closing out the series will be a virtual viewing of a movie from Rustic Lantern Films, Lake Windfall, produced and directed by people who are Deaf.
Irish Classical Theatre Company is working with Deaf Access Services once again to produce a second, recorded theatre performance that will be available to view virtually, streaming April 9 to 25. This performance will be the one-woman play, Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, and will be accessible through ASL interpretation and closed-captioning.
Deaf Access Services is hosting its annual fundraiser virtually on Thursday, April 15. This an important annual celebration for the community through fundraising to support our great programs and services. For updates, refer to the Deaf Access Services Facebook page and website.
NEWS from Headway of WNY
Support for People with TBI: Virtual Support Groups
Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc. supporting people and families with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), seniors and those who have disorders affecting cognition, as well as the regional center for NYS DOH TBI and NHTD Waiver Programs, provides the following updates: A support group is available for people with a TBI and for caregivers, which meets virtually on the first and third Tuesday of each month from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Upcoming dates are March 2 and 16, April 6 and 20. Follow these directions for access:
  1. Send your name, phone number, email address and meeting date(s) you would like to attend to
  2. When your email is received, further virtual connection instructions will be provided via email
  3. If you have questions, call 716.408.3120
Headway of WNY is seeking people for its Advisory Council (which meets virtually). For details about this or Headway programs, visit Headway’s website.

Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center Plans Spring Schedule with Safety Guidelines
Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, an affiliate of People Inc., is excited to announce that its spring schedule will begin in March, following all NYS COVID-19 guidelines. Lothlorien is a non-profit, therapeutic horseback riding facility providing horsemanship and horseback riding opportunities for people with cognitive, physical, emotional and learning disabilities. Located at 15 Reiter Road, East Aurora, NY, Lothlorien is the longest-running therapeutic program in Western New York and serves ages three and up. For program offerings or for more information, go to or call 716.655.1335.

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