Governor’s Funding Announcement, hiring DSPs, plus so much more!
Governor’s Funding Announcement, hiring DSPs, plus so much more!
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A vintage photo of Dr. Boles with a group of people served by People Inc.
2021 Year in Review
Last year was a time of incredible perseverance and growth. The People Inc. 50th Anniversary celebration, which extended throughout 2021, was an opportunity to reflect on the triumphs we’ve experienced. During this time, we’ve told the “People Inc. story,” highlighting the agency’s evolution over the years and marked this milestone with a commemorative video, along with recognition from government officials. Now is a great time to share some of the wonderful things our People Inc. family has accomplished, under the leadership of our Board of Directors and Lynne Frank, Board Chair 2020-2021:

1) As the COVID-19 global pandemic impacted our region, People Inc. staff stepped up to ensure the highest quality supports were available. Our Emergency Management Team led the way by promoting continued safety for staff and people we support. These efforts continue.
2) We continued to invest in the personal and professional development of our staff, increasing some starting wages and expanding our Succession Management Program.
3) Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives were strengthened through ongoing communications and community engagement.

4) Our Self-Directed Services saw ongoing growth, as people we support explored their strengths and talents. One participant, Robert Kneitinger, even made national news when he was featured on ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, in April.

5) “On Our Way @ Wayside,” our new transitional housing opportunity, was unveiled at a housewarming celebration. The Hamburg-based location prepares people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for independent living, while developing skills through hands-on learning.
6) Our supports in the Greater Rochester region continued to expand, as our Buffalo Road Respite reopened and increased services. The In-home Respite Program stepped in to provide supports to some families in need, while our Community Habilitation Program increased staff and number of people supported. Our team also began preparations to open a new residence in Brockport.
Elected officials and People Inc. staff at the new Health Services building.
Elected officials, People Inc. staff and people we serve cutting the ribbon at the Jefferson Apartments.
Betty and Albert with the Senior Companion Program
7) The new People Inc. Health Services Building opened, offering people access to a variety of much-needed health services and inclusive care, all under one roof, including our Rehabilitative Health and Counseling Services, along with People First Mobility, a durable medical equipment division of our agency.

8) Some notable happenings include: a community mural project at our Jefferson Avenue Apartments in Buffalo and a celebration of its opening, as well as construction being completed for our new People Inc. Oakwood Senior Apartments in Blasdell.

9) Our Senior Living expanded with ownership of BAWNY Excelsior, a 24-unit apartment building, bringing our number of locations to 20 across Wester New York, providing affordable housing to 927 tenants. The number of older adults supported through our Senior Companion Program increased to 155. Our Senior Outreach Program provided case management services to 1,018 people age 60 and over living in Kenmore, Grand Island, North Buffalo, Tonawanda and West Buffalo.

10) Our DSP of the Year Awards saw a record-breaking number of nominations and honorees – a testament to the compassion and dedication of our frontline heroes.
11) The People Inc. website was redesigned and updated. The revamped structure and improved navigation enhanced the agency’s online presence, showcasing our vast services and enhanced direct linkage to services.

12) Our affiliates, Headway of Western New York, Inc., Deaf Access Services and Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center continued to support the community with respective services for people with traumatic brain injury; Deaf, DeafBlind, hard of hearing and hearing-loss community members; and people, including veterans, who benefit from therapeutic horseback riding.

People Inc. extends a big thank you to community members for their continued support!
Kevin Horrigan from People Inc.
Governor Kathy Hochul Announced Investment in Healthcare and Workers’ Wages
During New York State Governor Kathy Hochul’s first State of the State address on January 5, it was announced that a $10 billion investment will be made, supporting healthcare and workers' wages, including those of direct support professionals (DSPs). The statement highlights Governor Hochul’s commitment to recognizing the daily, critical work that DSPs provide for people with intellectual and development disabilities.

Learn more about this announcement from The Buffalo News, which includes info from People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick. People Inc. Kevin Horrigan, associate vice president of Government Affairs, shared reaction during a WIVB-TV Channel 4 interview with a portion of it on Twitter and also with WBEN-AM-930. People Inc. is very pleased with this news. Our constant and hard-fought advocacy efforts have been so significant in highlighting the important work and dedication of our DSPs. However, there is more work to be done. The participation of our entire People Inc. team – people we support, advocates, staff, families and supporters – will continue to be necessary going forward. Please know that when asked for phone calls, emails or letters to elected officials, your contributions are important and appreciated!
People Inc. and David Wantuck Named as Recipients of
IDEA Awards

We’re pleased to share that People Inc. and David Wantuck, community engagement specialist/ASL coordinator of Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc., have been recognized with Inclusion Diversity Equity Awareness (IDEA) Awards from Buffalo Business First! Both were chosen from nearly 50 nominations championing diversity and inclusion and will be honored at an event later this month.
Magenta Rose Recognized through NYSID Preferred Source Employment
Pictured from left to right are: Margie Werder, WNY Account Representative for NYSID; Magenta Rose; Day Porter, People Inc.; Pam Columbo, Cleaning Crew Supervisor, People Inc.; Nick Savarino, Employment Specialist and Ken Levan, Business Services Manager, People Inc.
Magenta Rose was recognized as an Outstanding Performer through the William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Awards Program presented by New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID). Magenta Rose is a member of the People Inc. Supported Employment Program and attends our agency’s Arts Experience Day Program. To learn more about Magenta Rose and this achievement, view the full story on our website.
Pictured from left to right are: Margie Werder, WNY Account Representative for NYSID; Magenta Rose; Day Porter, People Inc.; Pam Columbo, Cleaning Crew Supervisor, People Inc.; Nick Savarino, Employment Specialist and Ken Levan, Business Services Manager, People Inc.
Career Spotlight: LPN – Residential
Calling all LPNs! Use your skills to make a lasting impact on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Join our team where, under the direction of an RN, you will assist with monitoring and coordination of the delivery of healthcare services with a manageable caseload. Featured openings include community-based residences in Amherst, Grand Island, Lewiston, Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda, Tonawanda and Orchard Park, NY. If you’re a licensed LPN and looking for a flexible, yet consistent, full or part time position in one of our residences, consider applying today. We offer mentoring, professional development opportunities, ample PTO and tuition reimbursement. The minimum qualifications include: Current NYS licensure to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse and a NYS driver’s license that meets agency policy.*

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

*Please refer to job postings for full qualifications and responsibilities.
Donate $10 a Month and Receive an Exclusive Calendar
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. You can help by joining 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 2022 calendar! With a theme of “What Inclusion Means to Me,” this year’s calendar is an ode to one of our agency’s overarching values: Diversity and Inclusion. Become a Supporting Member today! The People Inc. Foundation is grateful for your generosity. For more information, contact Jennifer Robinson at or call 716.817.7269.
SANYS Recognizes People Inc.
The Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS) recently recognized People Inc. as “Agency of the Year” during their annual conference. People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick and Richard Banner, director of Advocacy and Person-Centered Practice, accepted the award virtually on behalf of the agency. SANYS is led by people with developmental disabilities for people with developmental disabilities, promoting awareness and recognition of civil rights and responsibilities which include the opportunities and choices of equal citizenship. We’re grateful for our entire Advocacy Team!
Holiday Happenings
Over the last month, people we support got into the holiday spirit! Here’s some highlights:
Out of the Blue WNY, a local nonprofit charity that teams up with organizations like People Inc. to enhance the quality of life for adults with disabilities throughout Western New York, donated a karaoke machine to one of our group homes in Orchard Park, NY. Everyone loved it, but one of the gentlemen was particularly thrilled! Check out this video of the fun! The charity group also donated a wreath, cookies and a gingerbread kit for the house. We extend a huge thank you to Out of the Blue WNY!
Pictured: People Inc. Sunflower tenant Carolyn Poloncarz, who enjoyed decorating the hallways of the building, and People Inc. Lilly Senior Living Site Manager Lisa Carr presenting a prize to tenant Marilyn Kiley.
• Many of our People Inc. Senior Living locations held their own Holiday Door Decorating Contests for tenants!
Pictured: People Inc. Sunflower tenant Carolyn Poloncarz, who enjoyed decorating the hallways of the building, and People Inc. Lilly Senior Living Site Manager Lisa Carr presenting a prize to tenant Marilyn Kiley.

• Tenants of People Inc. Willow Senior Living in Wheatfield, NY, decorated a beautiful Christmas tree for their lobby. Plus, they spread kindness with fellow tenants by leaving holiday cards at apartment doors. Tenants have shared that it was nice to open their doors to many holiday messages!

Check out more photos from our 2021 Holiday Happenings Facebook photo album.
Bradford Watts
Staff Kudos
Bradford Watts, People Inc. community relations and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion manager, was recently named co-chair of the National Federation for Just Communities (NFJC) of Western New York, a human relations organization dedicated to overcoming racism, bias and discrimination. People Inc. has long been a supporter of NFJC and their mission of building understanding, respect and trust for all people through education, advocacy and community involvement. Congratulations, Brad!
Rachel Rodriguez
Retirement Best Wishes
People staff members recently retired and we wish them all the best. Learn more about these dedicated employees:
Rachel Rodriguez started at People Inc. in March of 1996. Her entire career has been in the housing world – property management, lease-up and compliance. She worked for other agencies in this field for over 20 years and started at People Inc. as a site manager for our People Inc. Lilly Senior Living apartments. She eventually became the policy and compliance administrator for People Inc. Senior Living. Throughout her career, Rachel assisted in opening 19 of our agency’s Senior Living apartment buildings. In 2017, she moved to our Affordable Apartments Services, as the policy and compliance director and assisted in opening five buildings. Many of the forms, policies and procedures used today are what she created early in her career and updated through the years. She always took the time to take calls, meet with coworkers and tenants, while making sure everyone felt prepared and comfortable. Rachel has been a tremendous force in both departments, offering guidance and knowledge to so many people.
Mike Todoroff retired in early December 2021. He started with Southeast Works (SEW) in 2010 as a driver for our Day Program located in Lancaster. After a few years, he became a transportation coordinator. When the busing process changed, he became an instructor in the day program. When SEW merged with People Inc., he took on the position of courier and delivered the mail to various locations. For the last year, Mike has been the mail coordinator at our Western New York headquarters. He will occasionally assist in the mail room when needed.
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.
Find the Perfect Job for You at People Inc.
Apply Today for Great Career Growth and Outstanding 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! 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 generous PTO and PTO buyback is offered. 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 the group home in Springville, ONLY – behavior technicians are NOW eligible for a sign-on bonus of $1,000 for full time and $500 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 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.
Take the Path Less Traveled – Join Us
People Inc. is recruiting people for local AmeriCorps positions to begin in February and serve through January 2023. The program, known as the People Inc. E.T.H.O.S. AmeriCorps Program, focuses on Empowerment Through Helping Others Succeed.
Our members will work with staff, within our organization or at partner agencies, engaged in the services that are typically offered, such as therapeutic recreation programs for veterans, day habilitation services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, case management services for Deaf, services for people with traumatic brain injury, admissions, low income or senior housing. The members will assist staff in the delivery of services or program development. New for 2022 – an additional focus of the member’s service will include assessing the needs of the people we support as it related to the impact of COVID-19. An assessment tool is used to identify challenges people are experiencing along 20 life areas. The member works with the person supported, staff and advisors to create bridges to solutions and develop resources. Regular peer support meetings and case conferences are held to offer guidance and training on client engagement, effective communication and tools for assessment and service delivery. American Sign Language (ASL) fluency is needed for assignments with the Deaf program.
AmeriCorps members receive a living allowance, student loan deferment, an education award toward college and other benefits. Applicants cannot be current People Inc. employees and must be at least 18 years of age. Those who have served in the U.S. Military (including the Guard and Reserve), their families and those with a disability are encouraged to apply. If you are interested or know someone who is, visit to apply. For more information, contact Pam Kefi, program director, at or call 716.833.1637, ext. 100.
People Inc. Senior Living and Affordable Apartments Available
Locations in Erie and Niagara Counties Accepting Applications

People Inc. provides a wide-variety of apartments across Western New York that are accepting applications. Options include:

People Inc. Affordable Apartments: Provides those who are income-eligible and meet the qualifications for set-aside units, based on our funding sources with safe, affordable apartments. Specific locations include:

NEW – Oakwood Senior Apartments, 15 Oakwood Avenue, Blasdell: 55+ Years, income-eligible. Additionally, there are seven furnished set-aside apartments for people 55+, who are income-eligible and are frail elderly homeless individuals.

Grant Street Apartments, 25 Grant Street, North Tonawanda: Age 18+ and income-eligible or who has an intellectual or developmental disability.

Highland School Apartments, 105 Highland Avenue, Tonawanda: Age 18+ and income-eligible; have a traumatic brain injury or an intellectual/developmental disability. A two-bedroom unit with hearing and vision accommodations available.

Linwood Lafayette Senior Apartments, 637 Linwood Avenue, Buffalo: Age 55+ and income-eligible, physically disabled and/or intellectually/developmentally disabled. Market rate units available.

Locations for the Olmsted Apartments, managed by People Inc., include the following (preferences for people with physical disabilities or vision impairments are provided):
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
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 accepting applications, including Amherst, Angola, Blasdell, Buffalo, South Buffalo, Gowanda, Grand Island, Lackawanna, Lockport, Springville and Wheatfield. Two benefits of People Inc. Senior Living are affordable rent based on income and safety features. (*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).
For additional info about any of these apartment options, email or call 716.880.3890.
News from Deaf Access Services
Register for ASL Winter Session
Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc., is pleased to offer its Winter American Sign Language (ASL) Session. Share this registration info with friends and family outside of the region, as classes are remote – you don’t need to live in Western New York to learn ASL through Deaf Access Services. Registration ends January 16. The first week of classes will begin on Monday, January 17. Spots are filling up quickly, so register soon! Email questions or concerns to

For more information about available programs and trainings through Deaf Access Services, contact, call 716.833.1637 or videophone at 716.335.9192. News and event updates are posted on the Deaf Access Services Facebook page.
NEWS from Headway of WNY
Headway of WNY’s Annual Appeal Continues
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, including: support groups, identification of supports, educational programs, waiver programs, symposiums, outreach, special fundraising events and a bi-annual newsletter.

Headway’s End-of-year Annual Appeal continues. Your help ensures that Headway’s mission continues and that people all across Western New York have access to the support they need. 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
a photo of Julia
Honoring Julia’s Legacy
Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc., an affiliate of People Inc., recently suffered the loss of their lead mare, Julia. Julia healed people – veterans with anxiety and post-traumatic stress, riders with low self-confidence and amputees who thought they could never ride. Her presence made an incredible impact on the organization and community, alike. The Erie County Legislature recognized her influence in a proclamation, sponsored by Legislator Joseph Lorigo.
Julia, along with the other “equine healers” at Lothlorien, are more than just horses. They make Lothlorien’s diverse programs meaningful to so many. However, these equine healers are housed in a barn that was built almost 40 years ago and is in need of repairs – A “guardian angel” donor has pledged a $25,000 matching donation to be used towards an upgrade for the barn. With support from additional generous donors, this amount can be doubled, ensuring the safety of the horses for years to come. Honor Julia’s legacy today.

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. Follow Lothlorien on Facebook for the latest updates.
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