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Earlier this month, we held a ribbon cutting for our brand new affordable housing complex, Ridgeway Commons, located on Ridge Road in Lackawanna. This complex offers 32 units to families and individuals, as well as 8 set aside for people with developmental disabilities. Handicapped accessible apartments are also available.
Joel, a tenant at Ridgeway Commons, spoke during the ceremony about how Community Services has helped him and his wife get settled in the Buffalo area. They had previously lived in Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit. Joel said it was devastating, and they had no electricity or water. His daughter brought them back to Buffalo where they eventually heard about Ridgeway Commons. They were able to move in earlier this spring.
“I love it here. My wife and I are so happy and grateful,” Joel said about their new apartment.
The new complex has also helped Shanon and Charlene. Shanon had lived in a group home his entire life. Now he has moved into Ridgeway Commons, his first apartment! Charlene also moved in, becoming more independent and is “loving her new place.”
This project was made possible by NYS Homes and Community Renewal, with funding from the Federal Low Income Housing Credit program, NYS Housing Trust Fund Corporation and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.
We are so thankful to our partners who helped make this project possible and are thrilled to be able to provide this wonderful new place to people in our local community.
Ridgeway Commons’ applications are available here.
You can read news stories about the opening by clicking the following links:
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, giving us the perfect opportunity to educate our community about the unique talents of the people we support.
This year’s theme is “See Me, For Me,” which encourages everyone to focus on each person and get to know more about them as an individual. The theme calls on our community to recognize people for their abilities. Here at Community Services, we celebrate the people we support all year long. Our Agency accepts people of all abilities and promotes their inclusion in the community. We’re committed to providing quality, person-centered services that are tailored to each person’s needs and creating individualized plans to help every person we serve accomplish their goals.
For example, our Jefferson Career Center offers hands-on learning suites where the people we support can explore different career paths and develop job skills to connect them with employment opportunities. The learning suites offer training in a variety of fields, including hospitality, office work, and automotive detailing.
We’ve also had countless examples of those that we support achieving a greater level of independence. Jason, a participant at one of our Day Habilitation programs, worked hard to gain the skills and independence to be able to go to the store and walk around without needing someone there to hep him.
Our mini-grant program, which fills gaps in funding, is another way we help the people we serve celebrate their talents and discover what they’re passionate about. Mini-grants have helped fund several programs and experiences, including camping trips, an indoor garden, a recording studio, transportation supports and more.
We also celebrate and thank our employees, advocates, families and partners for helping raise awareness in the community and for making a difference in the lives of the people we support.
If you’re interested in hearing our success stories or want to learn more about the Agency, follow us on social media and sign up for our e-newsletter here.
Businesses who are looking to hire capable, reliable and committed employees should consider hiring people with developmental disabilities. Employers will be hiring someone who is dedicated and hardworking while at the same time enabling that person to become more independent and involved in their community.
Some of the benefits of a hiring a person with a developmental disability include, but are not limited to:
- A more diverse workforce
- Increased productivity
- Motivated employees
- Less employee turnover
- Reduced recruiting times
- Fewer training costs
There are also tax credits available for businesses that employ people with developmental disabilities. The first potential credit is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). Employers can receive up to $2,400 in federal tax savings for hiring people with low incomes. The Workers with Disability Tax Credit (WDTC) can earn employers up to $5,000 for hiring people with developmental disabilities to full-time positions and up to $2,500 for part-time jobs.
According to the 2016 Disability Statistics Annual Report conducted by the University of New Hampshire, only 35% of all people with disabilities are employed. By employing more people with disabilities, their dependence on governmental supports decreases.
At Community Services, we know a job is so much more than a paycheck. It’s about learning new skills and being a part of the community. Our Vocational Services provide a wide range of opportunities to ensure people who want to work are prepared and have the supports necessary to succeed.