Recognizing staff, friendship goals and more news!
Recognizing staff, friendship goals and more news!
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Happy Holidays from People Inc.!
This holiday season, we simply want to say thank you to all the people we assist, families, staff, donors and community partners for your trust and support in the past year of challenges and triumphs. We’re happy to share our 2021 Holiday Electronic-card with you, featuring artwork by participants of the People Inc. Artisan’s Edge Day Program. From our People Inc. family to yours, we wish you a season that’s merry and bright and a year ahead filled with safe times and good health. Our caring team is here to provide you with assistance now and in the new year.
Video Debut to Recognize 2021 DSP of the Year Honorees
We’re fortunate to have some of the most dedicated and hardworking direct support professionals (DSPs) working for People Inc. across Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. They are so important to so many people – they are caring, creative, focused, skilled, compassionate, fun, trusting – and so much more. All of our DSPs are heroes whose work makes a true difference in the lives of the people we support, especially during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. For the seventh consecutive year, it is our pleasure to share the People Inc. DSP of the Year Awards. For all of this and more, including thoughts from our President and CEO Rhonda Frederick, view our 2021 DSP of the Year Recognition video.
Interested in becoming one of our DSPs or do you know a compassionate person who would be ideal to join our team? Learn more at
ennifer Knapp, an advocate and recipient of People Inc. Residential Services
Every Gift Makes a Difference – Join our Holiday Appeal Sharing, Caring, Teaching
We value celebrating our traditions year-round. Even the simplest of things can have a treasured place in our memories. And what’s even more precious is sharing these traditions with those who are special to us.
When you support People Inc., you’re making a tradition of learning possible throughout the entire year. At our core, we are teachers. With patience and individual attention, people we support continue to gain skills and develop their abilities. And what’s even more impressive, is the amount of teaching that they, in turn, do.

This is true for Jennifer Knapp, an advocate and recipient of People Inc. Residential Services.
“I’ve come a long way in advocating for myself with medical providers,” she shared.
We celebrate the important contributions made by our advocates this year. Our Advocacy Team is making a huge impact helping peers, as they coordinate advocacy groups, facilitate daily supportive Zoom sessions for people with disabilities all over the state, maintain social media, engage with legislators and more.

With your help, we can continue to make all of this possible. Your donation this holiday season is so appreciated. For more information, contact Jennifer Robinson at or call 716.817.7269.
NYS Funding for Direct Support Professionals Announced
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently approved several funding packages that will impact our direct support staff and agencies in our field of supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One-time American Rescue Plan Act Funding will, “support recruitment efforts, retention incentives and vaccination bonuses for direct support professionals who provide support for people with developmental disabilities in an effort to address workforce shortages in this field.” Learn more.
Currently, our agency is awaiting further details to be announced regarding how and when the funds will become available.
In a recent interview with WBFO, Rhonda Frederick, president and CEO of People Inc., spoke about the importance of this funding and the impact of dedicated staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rhonda shared, “I can’t say enough about the staff that work for us.” A story by WIVB-TV Channel 4 also aired and Rhonda said, “We are facing an incredible workforce crisis and this is going to help us to attract folks into the industry and to retain them.”
Betty pictured with participant Albert.
People Inc. Senior Companions form Lasting Friendships
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, people have found safe, creative ways to stay in touch with friends and family. People Inc., too, adapted to the crisis, developing programs like the Senior Companion “Phone Connection,” which pairs isolated older adults with senior volunteers, who provide a friendly voice and peace of mind.

Since the “Phone Connection” began in 2020, many people – participants and volunteers, alike – formed strong friendships through their weekly calls. People Inc. Companion Betty has been speaking with participant Albert for more than a year. This past summer, the two were able to safely meet in person. “They were very excited to finally meet,” shared Alissa Yax, Senior Companion Program coordinator. “It seemed like they had been friends for years!”

The People Inc. Senior Companion Program assists older adults who have difficulty with daily living tasks so that they can retain independence. Among other activities, the Senior Companion may assist with tasks, such as grocery shopping and errands; providing friendship and companionship; alerting doctors and family members to potential problems and providing respite for caregivers.

Senior Companions are volunteers age 55 years or older from Erie County who meet income eligibility requirements. We welcome new volunteers year-round, especially during the winter months when its challenging to go outside – our initiative to make calls could be a great fit for Senior Companion recipients and volunteers. Interested in learning more about this unique program or making calls through the “Phone Connection?” Email Alissa Yax at or call 716.768.2381.
Career Spotlight: Traveling Direct Support Professional – Residential
Announcing exciting career opportunities in Buffalo, Rochester, North Tonawanda, Lancaster, Silvercreek and Buffalo – hiring Traveling Direct Support Professionals to work at multiple locations throughout People Inc. Our Travelling Direct Support Professionals will receive an increase in hourly rate, a travel stipend and enjoy having the flexibility of creating their own schedule, as long as certain parameters are met. We are seeking experienced staff that are ready for a new challenge, are dedicated to the People Inc. mission, are highly motivated, have a high school diploma or GED and a NYS Driver’s License.* The staff will be joining the Central Scheduling Team, whose focus is on helping every Residential site with their staffing needs.

Our employees are our most valuable resource and we are committed to their ongoing personal and professional growth, including offering outstanding benefits. There is a place for YOU on our TEAM of essential employees – join our nearly 4,000 staff members and make an impact today. Apply online at

*Please see job postings for full qualifications and responsibilities.
Rhonda Frederick with Kerri Neifeld
People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick Speaks with OPWDD’s Kerri Neifeld
Rhonda Frederick, president and CEO of People Inc., recently spoke with acting Commissioner of the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Kerri Neifeld, at the press conference for the opening of The Care Management Coalition at 1022 Broadway Street in Buffalo, NY. Bradford Watts, community relations and DEI manager of People Inc. and Susan Barlow, executive director of Parent Network of WNY, among others, celebrated the collaboration of not-for-profit agencies coming together to provide wraparound services. The new location enhances equitable opportunities, inclusive service and allows people of all walks of life to reach their highest potential.

an image of a new website page on
New and Improved Website is Here for You!
Have you checked out our new and improved website? The People Inc. website,, has a new look and tons of new features to help people with disabilities, their families, those who provide assistance, business partners, job seekers and those interested in donating find everything they need. Enjoy improved navigation and enhanced search features, plus new Audience Pages, found in colored boxes on the homepage and under the Welcome tab. To help us better serve you, we have created an online form for you to provide specific information on the type of program and/or supports you are seeking – just complete the form and a member of our Admissions Team will respond.
A photo of 2 Holiday cards.
Shop and Help Us at the Same Time
You can support the People Inc. Foundation by purchasing items, including:

Holiday Cards: Our People Inc. Foundation Holiday Cards are a nice way to brighten the days of family, friends and customers during this festive season! The two designs available, Holiday Llama and Winter Mountains, were created by people we support. Proceeds from the sale benefit our various supports provided by People Inc. Order yours by Friday, December 17 – a limited supply is available. Choose your design and purchase packs of eight cards with envelopes for $9.99 each: (additional cost for shipping). A special shipping rate is offered for ten or more packs of cards. A printable order form is also available.
A photo of 4 Embrace the Difference bracelets with charms.
A Gift that Sparkles: Treat someone you care about or yourself to a beautiful piece of jewelry this holiday season! Check out the Embrace the Difference® bracelets now for sale – each includes an exclusive silver tone butterfly charm. Pick from three unique styles: Black with silver butterfly charm or People Inc. 50th Anniversary designs: a blue, grey and crystal colored beaded wrap (which fits all wrist sizes) and a blue apatite beaded stretch bracelet (which fits small to medium wrist sizes). Bracelets are $30 each and can be ordered online (additional cost for shipping).
For more information or to schedule a pickup of any of these items, contact Melanie Wilkinson at or call 716.817.7450.
A photo of 4 Embrace the Difference bracelets with charms.
Shop on AmazonSmile and Support
People Inc.

Are you shopping online for holiday gifts? Support People Inc. along the way by using AmazonSmile! To start shopping, go to On your first visit, select People Inc. as your charitable organization for eligible purchases – and AmazonSmile will donate .05 percent of every purchase to the People Inc. Foundation. Happy shopping!
GivingTuesday Thanks
Thank you to everyone who participated in GivingTuesday to help People Inc. provide outstanding supports and make a difference in the lives of so many! All community members who donated were entered to win a pack of People Inc. holiday cards and the winners are: Georgina Jungels, Marley Becker and Robert Lutz.
Tom Ess with his award.
Staff Kudos: Thomas Ess Honored Among “40 Under 40”
Thomas Ess, People Inc. vice president of Emergency Management Safety and Security, was recognized among Buffalo Business First’s 2021 class of “40 Under 40!” Honorees are successful in their professions and heavily involved in community activities. Congratulations, Tom! Thank you for your continued knowledge, outstanding leadership, compassion and skills to help the people we support and our employees stay safe year-round.
Telling the People Inc. Story: Then/Now Series Feature
As our agency’s 50th Anniversary celebration comes to a close at the end of the year, we’re so proud to have marked this milestone through our special video and stories highlighting historical moments. Plus, our Then/Now Series Feature includes snapshots of how things were then and now:
Then: The People Inc. Supported Employment Program started with 15 people in a garage. We did not offer other unique employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Now: Today, we work with businesses to employ hundreds of people with disabilities and create jobs around their talents and interests. Our Supported Employment and Vocational Service Programs have grown to support more than 600 people through partnerships with more than 300 local businesses. Over the years, we’ve established additional opportunities that offer high-quality work, through our Business Solutions initiative, which includes Carpet Cleaning, Contract Manufacturing and Janitorial Services.

More of our agency’s Then/Now series and our agency’s historical moments are included in separate photo albums on the People Inc. Facebook page.
COVID-19 Updates
COVID-19 Resources
The People Inc. team operates in a proactive, precautionary manner, with a primary goal of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for both the people we support and our staff throughout the global pandemic. For ongoing agency updates, refer to the Coronavirus section of our website.
The following resources are available:
  • Families are welcome to call group homes and programs with specific questions.
  • A special 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. The number is 716.529.6505.
  • To have COVID-19 concerns addressed, contact us at
  • The People Inc. Advocacy Department continues to help people who receive supports to
    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.
Make an Impact, Create Connections –
Apply Today for Great Benefits
People with experience in retail, restaurants, customer service and education often become an outstanding part of our agency’s team

People Inc. is hiring compassionate, energetic and creative people for full and part time positions across Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. If you value rewarding experiences and making an impact, then apply today! People with experience in retail, restaurants, customer service and education often become an outstanding part of our agency’s team. We have a place for people of all skill levels – from entry level to many years of experience. Direct support professionals, clinical and behavioral staff are needed to help people with disabilities achieve their goals! People Inc. offers paid comprehensive training and a wide variety of flexible and consistent schedules, which are great for college students to gain hands-on experience and for people returning to the workforce. Staff earn lots of PTO and PTO buyback. Some of the other great benefits provided by People Inc. include health insurances and tuition assistance. A starting hourly rate of $15 per hour is available for select direct support positions. A sign-on bonus of $750 is now offered for some designated full time direct support positions and a $375 sign-on bonus for part time. For designated management positions, a sign-on bonus of up to $1,500 is also available. (Note: The sign-on bonus is subject to change and/or may be discontinued at any time). There are also immediate opportunities for speech pathologists, LPNs, RNs, behavior intervention specialists, behavior technicians, Children’s Services case managers, team leads and residential supervisors, just to name a few. Take the next step to grow your career today! View People Inc. employment openings at or call 716.322.7050 for more information.
A living room at a People Inc. Senior Living apartment.
People Inc. Senior Living and Affordable
Apartments Available
Locations in Erie and Niagara Counties
Accepting Applications

People Inc. is pleased to offer housing opportunities for the general public who qualify. We offer a number of affordable locations across Western New York:

People Inc. Senior Living: Affordable and maintenance-free one-bedroom apartments for independent older adults age 62 and up who are income-eligible. Many locations are currently accepting applications, including Amherst, Angola, Blasdell, Buffalo (border of Cheektowaga) and South Buffalo, Gowanda*, Grand Island, Lackawanna, Lockport (border of Amherst), Springville and Wheatfield (border of North Tonawanda). (*Our Gowanda location provides HUD Section 202 Affordable Housing and NYS Tax Credit apartments for seniors age 62+. Accessible unit available. Amenities vary. TTD/TTY: 1.800.662.1220). Two benefits of People Inc. Senior Living are affordable rent based on income and safety features. Learn more about the apartment features provided by People Inc. Senior Living.
People Inc. Affordable Apartments: Reasonably-priced, safe apartments for people age 18 and over OR age 55 and over, who meet income eligibility. Rent subsidies and/or rental vouchers accepted. Adaptable apartments are available, with some that are specifically designed for people who have mobility and vision challenges or for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Numerous locations are accepting applications, including:

Olmsted Apartments, managed by People Inc. (preferences for people with physical disabilities or vision impairments are noted):

Austin Manor Apartments: 395 Tonawanda Street, Buffalo, NY
Elizabeth Harvey Apartments: 525 Oliver Street, North Tonawanda, NY
Gratwick Manor Apartments: 840 Tonawanda Street, Buffalo, NY
Haskell Stovroff Apartments: 30 Alpine Place, Cheektowaga, NY
Nelson Hopkins Apartments: 5562 Davison Road, Lockport, NY
A tenant in her apartment at Linwood Lafayette.
The apartments listed below are also accepting applications (certain eligibility applies):
NEW Oakwood Senior Apartments, 15 Oakwood Avenue, Blasdell, NY: 55+ years of age and who are income eligible (affordable rent). The building is currently nearing completion, with tenants moving in to their apartments in early December.

Grant Street Apartments, 25 Grant Street,
North Tonawanda, NY: 18+ years of age and who
are income-eligible (affordable rent); or are intellectually/developmentally disabled.

Highland School Apartments, 105 Highland Avenue, Tonawanda, NY: 18+ years of age and who are income-eligible (affordable rent); have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or are intellectually/developmentally disabled.
Currently, a two-bedroom unit with hearing and vision accommodations is available.
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. Market rate units available. Varying rates apply, based on income.

Learn more about the apartment amenities provided by People Inc. Affordable Apartments.
For additional information about any of these apartment locations, email or call 716.880.3890.
NEWS from Headway of WNY
Support Headway of WNY During Annual Appeal
Headway of Western New York, an affiliate of People Inc., assists people and families with traumatic brain injury (TBI), other cognitive conditions, seniors and veterans. The agency offers a variety of services in the community, including: support groups, identification of supports, educational programs, waiver programs, symposiums, outreach, special fundraising events and a
bi-annual newsletter.

Please consider making a contribution during Headway’s End-of-year Annual Appeal. Your help ensures that Headway’s mission continues and that people all across the Western New York region have access to the support they need. The campaign runs through Friday, December 31.
Donate now!
Headway Support Groups Continue
Bi-monthly support groups are available to address topics related to traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other cognitive conditions, as well as day-to-day challenges and maintenance of wellbeing. Visit the Headway website to sign up and view the most up-to-date listing of virtual meetings. You can also follow the latest happenings at Headway by following their Facebook page.

News from Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center
The memorial handmade signs on Julia's stall.
a photo of Julia
Remembering a Cherished Friend
Our affiliate, Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc., recently suffered the unfortunate loss of one of their beloved horses, Julia. She was known for her caring gentleness and ability to form great bonds with those living with cognitive, physical, emotional and learning disabilities. The community support has been greatly appreciated. Many people contributed photos, messages, poems and stories about Julia’s positive influence on so many, which staff made into a memorial at her stall. We send our condolences to the Lothlorien team, volunteers and riders.

Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. is a non-profit, therapeutic horseback riding facility providing horsemanship and horseback riding opportunities for people with cognitive, physical, emotional and learning disabilities. Located outside the Village of East Aurora, NY, Lothlorien is the longest-running therapeutic program in Western New York, serving ages three and up.
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