Category Archives: Services/Care

Independent Living in Batavia welcomes new HAWNY Program Specialist

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) has long worked to assist residents of Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties (GOW) who are dealing with homelessness, through the Homeless Alliance of Western New York (HAWNY).  ILGR is pleased to announce that Dai Nguyen has joined their staff in the position of HAWNY Program Specialist.

For those who might be unaware of them, Dai is inviting representatives of human service or government agencies that are likely to encounter customers who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or have problems securing housing, to an ongoing series of GOW Continuum of Care meetings, to be held the third Thursday of every other month, from 10:00 to 11:00 AM., beginning March 15th.  Under HAWNY sponsorship, they take place at the Main Office of ILGR, 113 Main Street at Center Street, Suite 5, in Batavia.

While the gatherings are primarily open discussions on the needs of the homeless, likely topics include updates on: the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Continuum of Care (CoC), a program designed to promote community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; theHomeless Management Information System (HMIS), a database that keeps track of homeless people; Rapid Rehousing, HUD’s model for alleviating homelessness; grant applications; housing updates in GOW; plus new events and services.  In addition, attendees can get assistance with HMIS training, HUD procedures, and the multi-faceted non-for-profit PathStone‘s programs, so that their customers can access these services as soon as possible.

The third Thursday dates set for 2018 are: March 15th, May 17th, July 19th, September 20th, and November 15th.

While encouraged, registering in advance is not required to attend. To RSVP or ask questions on the event, please call Dai Nguyen, at (585) 815-8501, ext. 417.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

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New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NYS DDPC) Rural Barriers Listening Session

Date: October 12th
Time:  2:00 PM
Location: NYSACRA
240 Washington Ave Ext #501, Albany
Event Details: The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NYS DDPC) wants to hear from DSPs and disability service providers that serve individuals in rural communities!
Join the NYS DDPC on  October 12th  to share the challenges that the people you serve face regarding advocacy, community engagement and supports, and social opportunities.
Light refreshments will be provided.
R.S.V.P. is strongly suggested.
If you have any questions, require translation services, or would like to R.S.V.P., please email:

With dark clouds on the horizon for continued federal support, Mental Health PEER Connection to hold Kite Festival for Mental Health


In the prior Affordable Care Act that Congress is working to repeal and replace, mental health services was one of ten Essential Health Benefits, similar to maternity care and prescription drugs, that Health Insurance plans were mandated to cover. In the alternate laws proposed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, mental health coverage is, at best, left as an option to which the cash-strapped states must determine if they are willing to dedicate some of their limited funds.

Under the theme “Celebrate Mental Health…while we still got it”, Mental Health Peer Connection (MHPC) is offering a ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak forecast by inviting the public to a “Kite Festival Celebrating Mental Health”, including free hot dogs – for which no government funds will be expended. The activity is to take place from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Saturday September 16, 2017, at Gratwick Riverside Park on River Road, northwest of Ward Road in North Tonawanda.

Intending it as a fun activity for the whole family, in addition to the hot dogs, the organizers invite participants to bring a dish of food to pass. Attendees are encouraged to supply their own kites, or, standard basic kites will be available. More information is available by calling Shannon at (716) 836-0822, extension 170.

MHPC Director Maura Kelley said, “In light of the lack of importance accorded to mental health services by both houses of Congress, they are, in essence, telling citizens with mental illnesses that they ‘might as well just go and fly a kite’! We are putting an upbeat interpretation on the idea by holding a Kite Festival in which members of the public have the opportunity to meet individuals with mental health concerns and learn how much like them that our populace is.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states on their webpage “Mental Health Myths and Facts”, that “Mental Health problems are actually very common. In 2014, about one in five American adults experienced a mental health issue.” They add, “Many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities.”

Mental Health PEER Connection is a member of the Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies that offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

Regional Self-Advocacy organization honors Independent Living counselor


The Western/Finger Lakes Region of the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS) accorded its “Support Person of the Year Award” to Joanne Wozniak, an Independent Living Specialist and Medicaid Service Coordinator, who is a 22-year employee of the Independent Living Center (ILC), a division of the Western New York Independent Living, Inc. Family of Agencies (WNYIL). Taking place on June 2nd, the venue was SANYS’ Western Regional Conference, “Self-Advocates Rock N’ Roll” at the Rochester Radisson Hotel.

The praise of ILC Director Lynnette Torgalski was echoed by WNYIL Executive Director Douglas J. Usiak who enthused, “Joanne is one of our most senior counselors, who has served admirably, helping consumers gain housing, health insurance and benefits, while not letting her requirement of a wheelchair with a large respirator mounted on it slow her down. Her colleagues could not be more proud”.

WNY Independent Living, Inc. is Western New York’s largest cross-disability, consumer-directed, non-residential organization for persons with disabilities. At WNYIL, individuals of all ages and all types of disabilities learn to exercise their freedom of choice to take control of their own lives in order to live more productively in, and contribute to, the community.

Transportation Summit – Saturday, November 5!

Free Accessible Transportation is available from several counties. Also, there is no cost- lunch is being provided by Key Bank. Encourage your elected officials, transportation providers and peers to go. Let’s get together and find solutions for transportation issues in Western NY and Finger Lakes! Any questions- you can call Sophia at 716-560-9307 or Laura Gawel at 716-505-5521.


Independent Living to hold a Twelve-week Course in Anger Management Techniques

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Independent Living of the Genesee Region will be holding a series of FREE Anger Management Workshops at their 113 Main Street office in Batavia, from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM on Tuesdays, beginning October 11th, 2016. Those who attend will be shown practical steps: to learn to manage anger; to stop violence and the threat of violence; to develop self-control over thoughts and actions; and to receive support and feedback from others in the workshops.
This workshop will be co-facilitated by Jim Strollo and Debra McKnight who bring experience and perspective to the endeavor. Debra is a New York State Certified Peer Specialist who has a degree in Human Services and holds a Mental Health First Aid Certificate. She is trained to provide help to people experiencing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse. Jim has a Master in Psychology degree and is a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC). He has conducted the Impaired Driver Program in Wyoming County for the past 26 years. Jim retired from the New York State Department of Corrections after a career of 25 years in counseling inmates. Together, Jim and Debra will create a welcoming and supportive environment.

Among the specific topics to be addressed are: an Overview of Group Anger Management Treatment; A Conceptual Framework for Understanding the Events and Cues that can produce Anger; Helping Group Members Develop a Plan for Controlling Anger; How to Change the Aggression Cycle; The A-B-C-D Model of Cognitive Restructuring and Thought Stopping; Alternatives for Expressing Anger through Assertiveness Training and the Conflict Resolution Model; How Past Learning can Influence Present Behavior in Family Situations; Reinforcing Learned Concepts; Graduation and the Awarding of Certificates of Completion.

Independent Living serves people with disabilities in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties. Participants must attend all twelve workshops to earn their certificates. Pre-registration by October 4, 2016 is required. You can receive more information, and sign up for the workshops, by contacting Jim Strollo at (585) 815-8501, extension 410, or by email at Again, please be sure to RSVP if you are interested!

Conference in Buffalo for anyone interested in services that improve the lives of seniors


Western New York Independent Living, Inc. (WNYIL) will be holding its 3rd Biannual Summit on Aging and Independence: “Shaping Health and Wellness for the Future” on September 29, 2016 at the Buffalo Convention Center. It promises to be of interest to individuals who work with Seniors, are part of an organization, business or service providing support to individuals who are over 55 years old, or seniors, themselves.

The Summit is pleased to offer three special guest speakers. At the Breakfast Plenary Session will be: Timothy R. Hogues, Commissioner of Erie County Senior Services; and Kenneth M. Genewick, Director of the Niagara County Office of the Aging. The Lunch Plenary will be addressed by Mark Kissinger, Special Advisor for Aging and Long-Term Care to the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health.

The purpose of the Summit is to identify and reveal critical efforts, ideas, research and issues related to aging, independence, wellness and change, and the speakers, panels and workshops will present and exchange knowledge regarding concepts, programs, services, trends, etc., which can impact individuals who are in the 55-plus group.

The Summit is divided into multiple tracks to appeal to the perspectives of different attendees: Service Providers or advocates; Healthcare professionals; Consumers; Caregivers; or Researchers/Educators. Some presentations include:
· Innovative Wellness Programs at Senior Services: Empowering Seniors to Live Life to the Fullest
· Effective Communication Strategies with Alzheimer’s and other Dementia
· Open Doors: Transitioning People from Nursing Homes and Intermediate Care Facilities into the Community
· The Role of Education in the Development of Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes About Aging
· Need for Free Transportation for Health and Independence in Community — Living Older Adults
· Dreams and Visions at the End of Life: Facilitating Comfort and Connection
· Preparing for a Life of Quality, The Way You Want It
· “kayęʔnaʔnásθhaʔs”: (“Caring for Elders” in the Seneca Language)
· Transportation Options in Erie County
· Getting Real about Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids
· Aging in the Community with Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care and Pooled Trusts
· Long Term Care Ombudsman Program: Advocating for Residents and Systemic Change
· Creating an Age Friendly Community in Erie County
· Falls Prevention
· Ensuring Community Support and Social Inclusion of LGBT Seniors: Lessons Learned from the ECSS/PCWNY (Erie County Senior Services and the Pride Center of Western New York) Partnership
· Advocacy Issues in ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act) and Older Americans Act

To participate, please register, on-line at, no later than Tuesday September 27th, with the number of your choice of presentation in each workshop session. A standard conference registration is $125; for ONLY lunch with Mark Kissinger, $30. For more information, please call Heather at (716) 836-0822 ext. 146, or Katie at ext.166, and we will be happy to assist you!

The Summit’s sponsors include: Western New York Alzheimer’s Caregiver Partnership; People Inc. Senior Living; Catholic Charities; the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) and its Open Doors (Money Follows the Person) Transition Center. And exhibitor sponsors: the WNYIL Medicaid Application Assistance Program; Western New York Coalition Pooled Trusts; Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.; Venture Forthe Personalized Home Care Services; Briarwood Manor Assisted Living Facility; Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of Western New York; Fallon Health Weinberg; Schofield Care; Meals on Wheels for Western New York; Wellcare Health Plans; Catholic Charities of Buffalo; Asbury Pointe Retirement Community; Niagara County Office of the Aging; Catholic Health LIFE / PACE (Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly); Caring Environments; The Bristol Homes; The Department of Senior Services of Erie County; Guildcare Adult Day Health Program; C Tech Low Vision Products; People Inc.

The Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.