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A Coronavirus Phone Line is available for families to call at 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 at 716.529.6505.
Concerns may also be emailed to COVIDconcern@people-inc.org.

Updates on Programs, Services and Protocols Due to COVID-19

While many of our People Inc. services remained in full operation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to date, others were suspended or significantly altered. Adjustment, as needed, will be made across the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions, based on geographic case prevalence. The People Inc. Emergency Preparedness Team is proactively engaged in monitoring any potential changes in our service areas and will adjust agency policies accordingly. 

Our primary goal is to maintain 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, we will continue sharing updates to programs, services and protocols. We appreciate your support, as we continue to work together through this extremely challenging time.

The Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council (DDAC) is compiling a report on New York State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to solicit feedback from as many people as possible, the DDPC has developed a survey for parents/caregivers and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The survey is only open through Monday, May 16, 2022. Read more

Residential Services Spring Meeting announced: People Inc. is hosting a meeting on Wednesday, May 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., for families and guardians whose loved one receives supports through the Residential Program. The agenda will include presentations on staff recruitment efforts and admissions/certified residential opportunities process. Join us via phone (audio only): 1.607.442.6488, 236086440#. The phone conference ID is: 236 086 440#.

  • As of January 26, 2022, OPWDD announced that emergency regulations, 14 NYCRR § 633.26, continue to require all staff and visitors in certified facilities to wear masks at all times, even in light of the recent Nassau County Supreme Court decision and the resulting stay which was granted related to indoor mask mandates. These regulations further provide that people who receive services must wear masks when visiting public facilities unless the person cannot tolerate wearing a mask due to a disability.
  • As of January 14, 2022, and as a result of the Federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) vaccination rule, regarding Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF) Only—ALL People Inc. Employees with regular and consistent contact (e.g., DSPs and Facilities Technicians etc.) are required to be vaccinated, with a final dose received by February 26. Employees without consistent contact are NOT required to be vaccinated. All Non-People Inc. Employees (e.g., Contractors, DQI Auditors, Telehealth, VNA etc.) are required to be vaccinated.
    • Please Note: Families are not required to be vaccinated to visit their loved ones.
  • As of January 6, 2022, Visitations to People Inc. certified residential facilities are required to be scheduled with at least 24-hours' notice to allow for adequate planning and prescreening. To avoid multiple families visiting at one time, to permit multiple families to visit on any given day, and to allow adequate cleaning of high-touch surfaces, visits will be staggered and will include a start time and end time. No more than 2 adult visitors, per family (from the same household), will be permitted in the home at a time. For visitors under the age of 18, management approval is required.
  • As of January 4, 2022, OPWDD issued new interim visitation guidance for certified residential facilities that put back in place COVID-19 screening and temperature checks for families and non-People Inc. employees (e.g., contractors, OPWDD DQI auditors, care managers, etc.) Temperature checks will be conducted upon arrival.
  • October 5, 2021: A vaccine mandate was announced by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul. This new requirement, established within New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) agency regulations, does not apply to our People Inc. operations. This mandate will apply to all people working at the psychiatric hospitals in the OMH network, as well as those working at ArchCare, the specialty hospital certified by OPWDD. Families, please note that this does NOT apply to People Inc. staff and there is no change affecting our services at this time. People Inc. continues to monitor this closely and will provide updates, as they become available.
  • August 19, 2021: People Inc. adjusted our masking protocols, based on revised OPWDD guidance, throughout the agency effective immediately, as follows:
    • ALL People Inc. employees, vendors and visitors are required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status
    • During transportation, masks are still required for OPWDD programs, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • February 15, 2021: Many of the People Inc. Day, CAPP, YALT and Respite programs began reopening, but not all. See chart in next section.

Thank you for your continued observation of the protocols that best keep the people we support and our staff as safe as possible.

We will continue to post updates to this information online, and as always, families are welcome to call group homes or programs for specific questions or participate on our family conference calls.

The chart in the next section will continue to be updated to reflect status changes of a program or service.

Update Details for Programs & Services (Chart)

Updated 4.6.2022

PROGRAM

TYPE

DETAILS

Residential Group Homes

Visitation at  Group Homes

ALL People Inc. employees, vendors and visitors are required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status inside the group home at all times. (Subject to change if the site needs to go into isolation for COVID-19 and/or Influenza protocols.)

As of April 4, 2022, based on guidance from OPWDD:
Visitations are preferred to be scheduled with at least 24-hours' notice.

Medical Appointments

Family/Guardian may attend medical appointments and procedures as necessary. However, attendance is also based on the specific health care facilities' COVID-19 guidance and policies. Most health care facilities and providers are still requiring the use of face masks, regardless of vaccination status and still have some capacity limitations in place. (Subject to change if the site needs to go into isolation.)

Person Served Return to Group Home

As of July 8, 2021, there are no restrictions for return to the group home. (Subject to change if the site needs to go into isolation.)

Community Activities

As of July 8, 2021, there are no restrictions on community activities. Establishments may still require the use of face masks, regardless of vaccination status and have some capacity limitations in place.(Subject to change if the site needs to go into isolation.)

Senior Living

Common Areas

Tenants and visitors who are unvaccinated are required to wear a mask in the common areas.

Affordable Apartments (Mixed Income/Tax Credit Apartments)

Common Areas

Tenants and visitors who are unvaccinated are required to wear a mask in the common areas.

Day Habilitation, Community PreVoc, CAPP, DHWW, YALT

General Operations

Operations primarily open to persons who live at home with their families or reside in other agencies' residential programs due to continued restrictions on capacity in buildings (social distancing). 

There is no longer a requirement for 50% capacity on vans and buses.

The Lancaster Day Hab Program is closed and will not reopen.
There are no longer site-based prevocational services.
Information is provided on the Day and Employment Chart.

Employment Services

General Operations

Community-based employment supports have continued, following employer/placement’s status.
Limited Contract Manufacturing is operational at 181 Lincoln location. 
Janitorial/Carpet Cleaning operations have continued to serve customers throughout the pandemic. 
Transition services have resumed with school districts.

Free-standing Respite

General Operations

Traditional respite services at the Downing Respite Center are operational. Traditional respite services at the Northtowns Respite Center are not operational at this time.

Site-Based Respite

General Operations

The following changes were made as of 2.9.2021, or after, for our respite sites: 

Open:

  • 1860 Buffalo Road Afternoon Respite (Rochester)
  • After the Belle Afternoon Respite (Buffalo) 
  • After Work Respite (Depew/Lancaster)
  • Buffalo Afternoon Respite (Buffalo)
  • Del-Ton Weekend Opportunities (Tonawanda) 
  • Iris Afternoon Respite (Hamburg) 
  • Ken-Ton Afternoon Respite (Kenmore-Tonawanda) 
  • Late Afternoon Respite (Buffalo) 
  • Lockport Recreation Respite (Lockport in community programming)
  • Northtowns Afternoon Respite (Lockport) 
  • OMG (formerly known as On Main and Grove) Afternoon Respite (East Aurora) 
  • Orchard Park Weekend Opportunities (Orchard Park) 
  • Recreation Respite (Depew/Lancaster)
  • Southtowns Afternoon Respite (Hamburg) 
  • TLC K-5 Afternoon Respite (Amherst) 
  • TLC (formerly known as Themed Learning Club) (Amherst)

Not opening at this time:

  • Mt. Hope Afternoon Respite (formerly known as Rochester After School Respite)

In-Home
Behavioral

General Operations

Continued uninterrupted operations, with precautions in place.

Community Habilitation/ 
In-Home Respite

General Operations

Continued uninterrupted operations, with precautions in place.

Recreation Respite

General Operations

Program reopened.

Rehabilitative Health Services

General Operations

Continued operations, open for in-person and virtual visits.

Home Health Care

General Operations

Continued uninterrupted operations, with precautions in place.

Headway of WNY

General Operations

Continued uninterrupted operations, with precautions in place. Virtual support groups held the first and third Tuesday each month.

Deaf Access Services

General Operations

Continued uninterrupted operations, with precautions in place.

Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center

General Operations

General operations resumed, with precautions in place.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Services

General Operations

In-person and virtual advocacy in line with November 2021 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid guidance.

Senior Companion Program

General Operations

Operating at clients’ homes and doing telephone wellness calls.

  • Apr 16, 2020

    April 16, 2020 Letter to Families (English and Español)

    April 16, 2020: Another letter to families is available (in English and Español ). As always, People Inc. encourages you to stay in contact. Our dedicated email address and phone line is operational to help make it easier to share any concerns at COVIDconcern@people-inc.org or 716.817.744

  • Apr 15, 2020

    April 15, 2020 Important Information from Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS) Director Arnold Ackerley

    Self-Advocates and Parent Advocates had a recent victory advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to be allowed to have a support person with them if they are admitted into the hospital. Thank you to all the advocates who worked so hard on this, and to the New Y

  • Apr 14, 2020

    April 14, 2020 Immediate Action Needed - Urge Federal Reserve for Forgivable Loan for Nonprofits

    Attention Families and Supporters, On Friday, April 10, the Treasury and Federal Reserve announced the Mid-Size Loan Program , for nonprofit and for-profits with 500-10,000 employees through the Main Street Business Lending Program, which would include organizations like People Inc. As it stands

  • Apr 03, 2020

    Resources

    Updated April 3, 2020: Please consult the following resources for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 Coronavirus: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention New York State Department of Health Other Resources: For concerns regarding COVID-19:  email COVIDconce

  • Mar 31, 2020

    March 31, 2020 Letter to Families (English and Español)

    March 31, 2020: Another letter to families is available (in English  and Español ). As always, People Inc. encourages you to stay in contact. Our dedicated email address and phone line is operational to help make it easier to share any concerns at COVIDconcern@people-inc.org or 716.817

  • Mar 24, 2020

    March 24, 2020: A Message from Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. President and CEO

    A Message to our Community    During these very challenging times, we so appreciate the tireless work of our partners – elected officials, our peers in health and human services, vendors and supporters. Above all, I’m incredibly thankful for and proud of the 4,000 staff members of People Inc. Their dedication and talent are evident on a “typical” day, and in times like this, are even more vivid and extraordinary. We wanted to share some of the proactive measures we have taken within People Inc. to prepare and deal with this crisis.   At People Inc., the safety and well-being of people we support and our employees remain our highest priority, as the potential for community spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus continues. We are actively in contact with and monitoring websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NYS Department of Health (DOH), County Health Departments and the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), among others.   During this crisis, we are thankful for our Emergency Response model that has been in place for the past six years. Our long-standing People Inc. Emergency Preparedness Team is meeting twice daily to ensure that we remain proactive and address access to resources, while keeping communication flowing to our staff, people we support and their families.   People Inc. has a number of measures in place, including:     Suspending community outings and operation of our Day Programs, and reassigning those staff members to augment our teams at residential sites. Our staff has been extremely flexible and have demonstrated exemplary commitment to our mission in light of unprecedented circumstances. Implementing a conservative  Visitors Policy  and working with families on arrangements while taking precautions to protect the well-being of those we support and our staff. Utilizing our existing Telemedicine Program in our residential sites, which continues to quickly assess medical concerns without automatically transporting people to crowded healthcare centers. Increasing training on cleaning protocols and product use, and practicing beyond Universal Precautions.  Enhancing supports for our staff with 24/7 access to our Employee Service Line and Employee Assistance Program and a dedicated resource and information section of our Employee Intranet, as well as daily updates.  Expediting and centralizing sourcing of critical supplies and establishing a secure staging area and process to get those where they are most needed.  Continuing to plan ahead to be prepared as best we can for the future.  Developed a  Coronavirus Update section on our website.   A dedicated phone line and email address have been established for people supported and their families to contact us with specific concerns related to COVID-19 Coronavirus: Phone: 716.817.7445, Email:  COVIDconcern@people-inc.org .   As a resource for people we support, a special phone line for non-emergency help has been established, which is 716.322.7070.   Our longstanding People Inc. Emergency Closing Line is updated regularly as decisions are made to suspend any agency program. You can call the two available phone lines for closure updates:   Western New York:  716.817.5700 and                            Greater Rochester region:  585.441.9393.   Thank you for your support as we work to ensure the safety of the people we support and our staff. Sincerely, Rhonda Frederick President and CEO People Inc.

  • Mar 23, 2020

    March 23, 2020 Updated Visitor Policy

    Updated March 23, 2020: People Inc. has once again updated our  Visitor Policy  based on emerging info from the NYS Department of Health, which is now in effect at our agency locations*. This includes updated processes for families who utilize our Residential Services. Call 716.817.5700

  • Mar 15, 2020

    March 15, 2020 Phone Numbers for Program Closings

    Posted March 15, 2020: As we continue to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 Coronavirus, People Inc. encourages the people we support, their families and employees to stay up-to-date with program closings. Call 716.817.5700 (Western New York) or 585.441.9393 (Greater Rochester Region) for

  • Mar 13, 2020

    March 13, 2020 Including Letter to Families

    We have recently mailed a letter ( in English  and  en Español ) to the families we support through OP WDD services. Posted March 13, 2020: Although there are no reported cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus at People Inc., we are taking numerous precautions. We know tha

  • Mar 12, 2020

    March 12, 2020 Letters to Families (English and Español)

    Posted March 12, 2020: People Inc. mailed a letter ( in English and en Español ) to the families we support through OPWDD services. For updates regarding cancellations, please see Upcoming Events on the People Inc. website. We have established a dedicated phone line and email address for c

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