People Inc. exists so that individuals with disabling conditions or other special needs have the supports they need to participate and succeed in an accepting society.
People Inc. is working toward a future where all persons whose needs limit their integration into the community can reach their highest level of human potential as responsible members of society. It is hoped that these individuals will, to their potential, be contributing and active members in their communities, enjoying the greatest possible degree of independence and acceptance, in all aspects of their lives.
- Improving lives - Every person has intrinsic value and contributes to community. Seeking opportunities to live life to the fullest. Helping individuals and families embrace the future.
- Respect - Person-centered approaches to service. Meaningful participation by individuals in decisions that affect them. Staff talent and dedication as the key ingredients to our organizational success. Interactions and communication reflecting high personal regard.
- Integrity - Careful stewardship of funds and philanthropic support. Fairness and honesty in all that we do.
- Relentless Pursuit of Excellence - Superior quality in all services. Exceptional training and supports for staff. Meaningful performance assessment. Never stop improving.
- Diversity and Inclusion - Meaningful participation by people in decisions that affect them. Honor the uniqueness of each person and wide diversity of the community we support. Advocate for equity and access in all we touch. Learn More
- Flexibility and Creativity - Welcoming change as an opportunity. Leadership in innovation and system design. Partnerships that enhance value and possibilities.
People Inc. was founded from a humble beginning in 1970 by a small group of parents and professionals, who were concerned and passionate about addressing the needs of people with intellectual disabilities. Since then, People Inc. has remained forward-thinking and expanded its mission to include a wider variety of supports that address the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families, older adults and the community.
Over the years, People Inc., a multispecialty non-profit health and human services agency, has grown greatly in numbers of populations served, variety of supports and number of locations in Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. People Inc. strives to instill its values to improve lives, provide respect, pursue excellence, promote diversity and inclusion. We started with less than 10 employees and more than 50 years later, we have nearly 4,000 staff members, who make an impact for the more than 12,000 people of all abilities and ages at nearly 200 locations.
Throughout the years, People Inc. has aligned with other agencies, forming partnerships that have strengthened our mission to effectively provide person-centered services and be more financially secure. Our agency is thankful to the community and to all of our partners for joining together as a united People Inc. family that is dedicated to helping people achieve independence and meet their goals. With these proactive alliances, we are well-positioned to continue to provide high quality and innovative services to help support people now and into the future.
In 1989, People Home Health Care Services, an affiliate of People Inc., was established for those with short-term health needs. These services provide at-home, medically prescribed support for people of all ages who are in need of acute medical care or assistance with daily living, including physical, occupational and speech therapies; nursing care; nutrition and medical social work.
People Inc. recognized that Western New Yorkers with developmental disabilities had increased difficulty finding quality medical services and took medical care one step further by developing plans for a community-based health care facility. A capital campaign was formed and as a result, the Elmwood Health Center was established in 1994. Since then, a variety of different health services have formed, including our People Inc. Rehabilitative Health Services and Social Work.
Over the years, there has been a growing need for assistance for people with traumatic brain injuries. In 2011, People Inc. responded to this need by partnering with Headway of Western New York. As an affiliate of People Inc., Headway of WNY assists people and families with a traumatic brain injury, other cognitive conditions, seniors and veterans. The agency offers a variety services, including support groups, identification of supports and waiver programs, as well as education and outreach.
People Inc. furthered its existing reach in Niagara County when Rivershore, Inc. became a division of the agency in 2014. Founded in 1980, Rivershore supported people in Niagara County living with developmental disabilities to pursue and achieve meaningful lives. In 2016, People Inc. partnered with Southeast Works, a local not-for-profit agency based in Depew, NY, supporting people with developmental and other disabilities, primarily through employment training and services.
Since joining the agency, both Rivershore, Inc. and Southeast Works have 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.
In 2019, Deaf Access Services become an affiliate of People Inc. The partnership allows both organizations to pool resources to meet growing demands, expand services for a broader geographic reach and enrich services for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing.
In 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 with disabilities of all ages, older adults and veterans with cognitive, physical, emotional and learning disabilities.
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 12,000 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.
Diversity is our strength, equity our virtue, inclusion is our passion.
People Inc. was founded on the basis that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are key principles in everything we do. We are committed to the work of becoming more inclusive as a health and human services agency. This commitment involves effort, respect, understanding, caring approaches, bravery and time. It truly is never ending, as we work towards continual improvement. Diversity and inclusion is about experiences, values, creativity, perspectives and the sharing of ideas. We learn from each other’s strengths – this includes the people of all abilities and ages who we support – and our employees. We are committed to cultivating an environment of respect and support for all employees. Each member of our team is valuable and we feel our commitment to diversity will drive creativity and ultimately success at People Inc. Our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is instilled in all of our employment practices, which includes recruitment and hiring, benefits and opportunities for development. People Inc. has prioritized Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as core values critically important to our work. Our goal to help advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will continue, while we learn and grow together.
Our People Inc. Inclusion video marks the ongoing goal of our commitment to inclusion and to encourage people to stand together against what divides us.
A monthly calendar is produced by the People Inc. DEI Committee to share seasonal observances and events with people the agency supports, families, employees and the community.
What does People Inc. do?
Through a variety of programs and supports, People Inc. enables people of varying ages and abilities to lead more healthy, independent and productive lives.
What kinds of services does People Inc. provide?
People Inc. provides programs and supports to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families and older adults throughout Western New York and the Greater Rochester region.
A common misconception about People Inc. is that it is a placement or temporary employment agency. While we offer placement programs for adults with developmental disabilities, as well as welfare recipients through Employment and Training services, this is only one of numerous programs and services we offer.
How did People Inc. get started?
Formed in 1970 by a small group of committed parents and citizens who wanted a better life for their loved ones with developmental disabilities, People Inc. turned its focus on residential, vocational, case management, and day treatment services for adults with developmental disabilities.
Over the years, the agency has broadened its range of supports to include health services, senior services, community outreach and more.
Who does People Inc. support?
People Inc. is many things to different people. While the core of our services help people with developmental disabilities from birth throughout their life, we reach thousands of people each year with and without disabilities including children, older adults, family members and the general public. View the full listing of services by selecting the “Programs & Services” tab above.
Who qualifies for services?
People Inc. offers a wide range of services for people of varying needs and abilities, most of the services we offer are designed specifically for people with developmental disabilities. In regard to services for developmental disabilities, the New York State (NYS) Office for People with Developmental Disabilities defines a developmental disability as a "severe, chronic disability of a person which is attributable to a mental or physical impairment, manifested before the age of 22, and likely to continue indefinitely."
The disability must result in a substantial limitation in major life activities such as self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, and capacity for independent living or economic self-sufficiency. Qualifying disabilities include intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, neurological impairments such as epilepsy or traumatic brain injury, and autism.
There are several circumstances where the above criteria is not necessary to receive services. Our Early Intervention program is also available to children who may show signs of developmental delay, but have not yet been diagnosed with a developmental disability. We also offer services for individuals who have survived a traumatic brain injury which occurred after the age of 22. Home Health Care services are available to people with and without developmental disabilities. It is best to call Admissions at 716.880.3700 where they can help determine eligibility for such situations.
For our People Inc. Senior Living and Affordable Apartments, please note that various age and income eligibility must be met. To learn more, call 716.880.3890.
How does someone get linked up with your services?
People are often referred to People Inc. through schools, hospitals, family members, friends, attorneys or other agencies. The most in demand services are Day and Residential Programs.
There are a few ways to access services from People Inc. For general information about the agency, call our Administrative Office number at 716.817.7400.
If you are looking to access services for someone who has a developmental disability, call Admissions at 716.880.3700 (Western New York) or 585.441.9300 (Greater Rochester region). An Admissions specialist will ask you several questions to determine eligibility. If you are eligible, you may meet with a case manager or care coordinator, who will make a needs and wants assessment. They will then make appropriate referrals to services offered by People Inc. or other agencies.
For all other services and information, call the Admissions Department at 716.880.3700 (Western New York) or 585.441.9300 (Greater Rochester region). An Admissions specialist will be able to provide you with information about all services.
How do people pay for disability services?
Fee for disability services is determined by a variety of factors and reviewed on a case by case basis. Depending on the services received, a person may or may not be responsible for payment. Services may be covered by Medicaid, Medicare, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, sliding scale or private pay.
Where are you located?
People Inc. Administrative offices are based in Williamsville and Rochester, NY. However, People Inc. operates many residential sites, day programs, regional offices, apartment buildings and other locations throughout the Western New York and Greater Rochester regions.
How is People Inc. funded?
Most of the agency's funding comes from various sources, including the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, the federal government, Social Security, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Vocational and Employment Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID), Medicaid, Medicare, corporate and foundation grants, private donations and fund raising initiatives.
How do I join the People Inc. team?
People Inc. offers a number of career opportunities across Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. Learn more and apply today!
How can I support or donate to People Inc.?
Thanks for your interest! People Inc. offers a number of ways to help support our mission. Learn more.
Does People Inc. make the organization’s IRS Form 990 available to donors?
Yes. Please note that our organization files two 990 Reports annually: People Inc. and People Inc. Consolidated. Taken together, the reports reflect the total financial picture of People Inc. and affiliates. For more information, refer to People Inc. 990 Forms.
What are the People Inc. COVID-19 Safety Plans for Reopening?
While many of our People Inc. services remained in full operation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to date, others were suspended or significantly altered. A planned and gradual reopening of our programs is in progress, based on a variety of factors to support our primary goal – maintaining a safe and healthy environment for both the people we support and our employees. To be as transparent as possible, and allow for families and others to best plan, the reopening plan will continue to be updated as needed. People Inc. COVID-19 Safety Reopening plans are available by program as required by the NYS OPWDD.
Known for its innovative programs, individualized services and ability to plan for future needs, People Inc. has earned respect from families of people we support and from community leaders. Our agency has gained a loyal and excellent reputation throughout the region and state as a leading health and human services agency.
People Inc. is supported by foundations, grant funders and individuals, as well as longstanding corporate and community partners. The agency helps create systemic change through legislative advocacy and provides education through public awareness.
People Inc. has been awarded the coveted four-year Person-centered Excellence National Accreditation from The Council on Quality and Leadership (QCL). For more than 50 years, CQL has been a leader in raising the bar for human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure and improve the quality of life of all people. Organizations that are awarded accreditation by CQL meet a stringent set of criteria and demonstrate an on-going commitment to person-centered excellence.
The CQL Person-centered Excellence Accreditation process was an important avenue for all of us to reaffirm our commitment to providing the highest level of services focused on helping people served with intellectual disabilities to participate and succeed in today’s society.
As part of this accreditation, we will continue to enhance our systems directly related to person-centered services and in empowering the people who receive support from us to make choices in how they live their lives … where they work, where they live, and how they create a community.
When People Inc. partnered with CQL in 2014 to pursue accreditation, we undertook a rigorous process to review and improve services and supports. We achieved this accreditation because of the level of commitment from our team and our culture that is innately focused on person-centered services. It is an excellent opportunity to take a good look at ourselves, with the help of the people we support and their families, and see how we can raise the bar even higher for their future benefit. We went through reaccreditation in 2018 and are preparing for our next one in 2022.
People Inc. was awarded CQL accreditation as a result of demonstrating proficiency in the areas of:
- Basic Assurances (ensuring fundamental safeguards related to health, safety and human security)
- Personal Outcome Measures® (supporting and empowering people to achieve their goals and dreams)
- Person-centered Excellence (demonstrating organizational commitment to continued enhancement of systems directly related to person-centered services)
People Inc. is committed to providing the highest quality services. We expect and require everyone affiliated with People Inc. to perform their job responsibilities in a law-abiding, honest and trustworthy manner. Services are provided in accordance with the highest levels of ethics and in compliance with applicable mandates. Our Corporate Compliance Program is used to continually provide the highest level of services through staff training, effective policies and procedures as well as self-auditing. To report any concerns, please call the People Inc. anonymous reporting hotline at 716.817.7299.
People Inc. is fully compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. The Act strives to protect confidentiality and Protected Health Information (PHI) in all services that People Inc. provides. To obtain more information about People Inc.’s HIPAA policies or to report any concerns about protection of confidential information, please contact the People Inc. anonymous reporting hotline at 716.817.7299.
The purpose for reporting, investigating, reviewing and monitoring certain events is to enhance the quality of services provided to persons, to protect people from harm and to ensure that people are free from abuse and neglect. Prompt reporting ensures immediate steps are taken to protect people. The policy outlines the process for reporting, investigating, reviewing and monitoring incidents and events.
Complaints for Transportation and Transit Services
- People Inc. operates its transit services without regard to color, race, or national origin, all in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Any person who believes they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin may file directly, or through a representative, a written complaint with People Inc.
- A complaint must be filed no later than 180 days after the date of the alleged discrimination.
Instructors for Filing a Discrimination Complaint
- People may file a Discrimination Complaint using the Title VI complaint form.
- Complaints should be filed directly with the President & CEO of People Inc. at 1219 North Forest Road, Williamsville, NY 14221.
- A complaint may also be filed directly with the Federal Transit Administration by filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, Attention Title VI Program Coordinator, East Building, 5th Floor-TCR, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE Washington, DC, 20590.