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SDNYC Facebook Group and Meeting on November 7, 2018 at SNACK


SDNYC Facebook Group and Meeting on November 7, 2018 at SNACK

In case you have not seen or heard, I help moderate SDNYC Facebook Group, and our “real world meetings are typically hosted by Jackie Ceonzo at SNACK - 316 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022-5265.

SDNYC = Self-Direction New York City (area)

This is Self-Direction NYC (SDNYC), which is the “Circle Of Support” group for individuals in the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. If you live in the NYC area or support individuals in the NYC area, please join us.
— SDNYC Facebook Group


New York Alliance: "What Happens When I Die?"


New York Alliance: "What Happens When I Die?"


Reality #1 - We are in a new world for the Developmentally Disabled in New York, and this is a first attempt to answer complex questions.

Reality #2 - Parents will be the ones who come up with creative solutions.

This is a good overview by John Maltby and Carol Napierski of New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation, but this is not a roadmap. Many questions are just starting to be asked.

Support Systems for people with I/DD that were based in congregate care and sheltered work may no longer be desirable or sustainable, however, in some ways they were predictable. As these systems evolve to become more person-centered, families have expressed concern for how to ensure future health, safety and a fulfilled life for their son or daughter in a new world of risk. Our goal in this work is to help people with I/DD and their families understand current systems and think about ways to create “safety networks” addressing changing risks, as options for support become more diffuse and in some ways more challenging. We hope that this work adds to the toolkit available to people with I/DD and their families, and we welcome your feedback.
— John Maltby and Carol Napierski of New York Alliance for Inclusion & Innovation

New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation, is an “Agency of Agencies” in New York State, and it serves as a catalyst for positive change and a leading resource for individuals with disabilities, their families, and the organizations supporting them. They do this through: 

  • Advocacy 

  • Education & Training 

  • Technical Assistance & Practice Improvement 

  • Advancing Sound Public Policy


Our friend Oscar Segal is looking for a roommate in NYC (he found one!)


Our friend Oscar Segal is looking for a roommate in NYC (he found one!)

November 28, 2018 Update: Mission accomplished as Oscar is now living with a co-worker at Shake Shack on the Upper East Side. Oscar’s new roommate is going to school for acting and he is originally from Alabama.

Many people in the NYC DD community know Oscar Segal as he is a very hard working young adult. In case you don’t know Oscar, here is a great video of his work at Invictus:

Here are the details via Oscar’s family:

  • Support Independent Young Adult on Autism Spectrum in Exchange 4 Rm & Bd (Bronx), Near Yankee Stadium, 20 minutes to Midtown  

  • Free Room and Board in Exchange for being overnight emergency staff 3 - 4 nights per wk + $17 per hour for doing skills training and support in evenings.

  • Spirited, highly independent 23-year-old man on the autistic spectrum needs live-in support staff for large 3-bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment in the Bronx. 

  • 3 blocks from Yankee Stadium and #4, B and D Trains. 6 blocks to #2 and #5. 20 minutes ride to mid-town Manhattan, 10 minute bus ride to Upper Manhattan.

  • Requires mature, patient individual with experience living, working, teaching, or caregiving to young adults on the autistic spectrum. Must be legally able to work in the U.S., pass drug test and background check.


  • Staffer must be available to meet client at home 3 to 4 nights a week.  Client typically returns home between 7 PM and 10 PM.

  • Home must be staffer's primary residence. Expected to be staying in the apartment most nights. Part of the job is to provide fellowship and sense of continuity. 

  • Mentor client / room-mate on skills promoting independence, including (but not limited to):

    • Preparation of lists and shopping with client.

    • Dinner preparation working with client (3 – 4 nights per week on average.) 

    • Establishing routines with client to keep apartment clean and organized.

    • Support positive decision-making and social skills appropriate for an adult of his age. 

    • Model behavior around hygiene, healthy eating and exercise. 

Other responsibilities include: 

  • Keep regular notes on client's progress towards goals and challenges to be shared with other members of his support team. 

  • Become an active member of client's support team and be available for occasional team meetings. 

  • Work with 2nd staff support staffer to prepare rotation schedule for evening responsibilities including meal preparation, cleaning up, socializing with client, and being the on-call overnight staff. 


  • Room (own private bedroom, 2 shared bathrooms) and board (food, utilities, Internet) fully covered.

  • $17.00 an hour for any time working on supportive skills building before 11 PM and on weekends.


Write short email to parents summarizing your experience working, living with or teaching young adults with autism or other cognitive disabilities. Send it to 

  • Please do NOT respond if your only experience is in childcare.

  • Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.

  • Please NOT contact us with unsolicited services or offers.


OPWDD Updates: Individual Supports and Services (ISS) Housing Subsidy Information for Landlords


OPWDD Updates: Individual Supports and Services (ISS) Housing Subsidy Information for Landlords

This was originally published by OPWDD in the brochure below. It has been cut and paste for others to find via Google and similar online methods. It was distributed to New York State Housing Navigators via the New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation

New York Alliance is committed to improving the lives of people with disabilities and we do this through advocacy, education and training, technical assistance and advancing sound public policy.

New York Alliance’s website contains a variety of resources that are helpful to advance our organization’s mission and provide key information to our provider agency membership, policymakers and researchers, partners and advocates, family members and friends.
— New York Alliance

OPWDD Background - Housing Subsidy

The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is a New York State agency that oversees the coordination of services for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, etc.

What is the OPWDD ISS Housing Subsidy?

The OPWDD Individual Supports and Services (ISS) Housing Subsidy works like other government funded housing subsidies that you may be familiar with, such as the Federal Housing Choice Voucher Program (i.e., Section 8).

It is designed to support income eligible people with developmental disabilities who choose to live in their community and who will be financially and legally responsible (i.e. lease holder) for their housing unit as a responsible tenant.

Tenants are expected to contribute approximately 30% of their countable income towards housing costs. The ISS Housing Subsidy pays the difference up to the maximum allowable.

The person can choose to live alone, with roommates and/or with a live-in-caregiver. The person may also be eligible for assistance with their security deposit and other moving expenses.

Landlord Information

What Type of Housing is Acceptable?

Acceptable housing includes: A single-family home, townhouse, condominium, apartment, co-op, or manufactured home that meets OPWDD’s criteria for housing assistance and is otherwise available to rent, own or occupy under a legally enforceable lease/agreement by the public and/or through an OPWDD provider agency.

The housing unit must meet OPWDD’s Housing Quality Standards, which are based on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Quality Standards (24 CFR 982.401) used for the Section 8 Voucher Program.

The housing unit must be a specific separate unit with kitchen and bathroom facilities and must meet local and state standards as a legal dwelling unit. The OPWDD ISS Housing Subsidy does not support renting a room.

Benefits for Landlords in Renting to People with I/DD who have an OPWDD ISS Housing Subsidy

At the beginning of every month you will receive a check toward the tenant’s portion of the rent from an OPWDD authorized provider agency.

The provider agency that administers the ISS Housing Subsidy will also help ensure that the tenant is meeting his/her responsibilities as a tenant and will intervene if there are any difficulties.

The tenant may have additional supports that assist him/her in maintaining and sustaining his/her tenancy.

Landlord Responsibilities

  • Preparing and executing a lease and/or occupancy agreement.

  • Maintaining the apartment according to housing quality standards.

  • Accepting the portion of the rent not included in the ISS Housing Subsidy if applicable.

  • Contacting the tenant and/or ISS Provider Agency if there are any difficulties and/or any changes to the rent, maintenance, lease renewal, etc.

The ISS Provider Agency Responsibilities

• Viewing and approving the housing unit and reviewing the lease with the prospective tenant.

• Processing and delivering rent checks.

• Assisting the person to coordinate the move and setting up his/her home and utility and cable accounts and in maintaining his/her tenancy in conjunction with others as applicable.

• Ensure that the tenant is meeting their housing responsibilities.

Referring Landlords to OPWDD

If you know of another interested landlord you can refer them to the OPWDD Home and Community Living Unit at 518-473-1973.


The Disability Opportunity Fund - 10th Anniversary Reception with Charlie Hammerman


The Disability Opportunity Fund - 10th Anniversary Reception with Charlie Hammerman

The Vision of DOF is to create a society where financing is readily available to address the gap in housing and related services for people with disabilities and their families.
— Charles Hammerman - Disability Opportunity Fund
Charles Hammerman - The Disability Opportunity Fund

Charles Hammerman - The Disability Opportunity Fund

Ken Siri, Eric Silber, and Jeanette Rodriguez - FOC (Friends of Charlie)

Ken Siri, Eric Silber, and Jeanette Rodriguez - FOC (Friends of Charlie)

I met Charlie Hammerman when he first started The Disability Opportunity Fund (The DOF), and this week the fund celebrated their 10th Anniversary at The Princeton Club in NYC. The fund today has:

  • $32 million in assets as of 12/31/17;
  • 73 projects funded; and
  • 19,500 people with disabilities who have benefited from The DOF's financings. 

Charlie is a pioneer in the industry as he took the existing model of CDFI's (Community Development Financial Intermediaries) and focused The DOF on the disabilities market. Today, we are all benefitting from Charlie's (and his wife Nanci Freiman) vision for the disabilities market.

Below is The DOF's Strategic Plan for 2018 to 2022: 


JCC Manhattan Focus Groups for Parents of Young Adults with Disabilities - Allison Kleinman


JCC Manhattan Focus Groups for Parents of Young Adults with Disabilities - Allison Kleinman

Allison Kleinman - JCC Manhattan

Allison Kleinman - JCC Manhattan

Allison Kleinman, LCSW is the Director of the Center for Special Needs + Adaptations at The Jack and Shirley Silver Center for Special Needs at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. In her creation and spearheading of the department, Allison's focus has been on developing individualized paths for all people to connect to community and achieve their potential for independence.

With Allison's permission, I am posting the summary of her Focus Groups that were conducted by the JCC. All of the Center for Special Needs programs are open to the broader community.

In late May 2018, Allison also led a group of JCC families from The Silver Center for Special Needs to Israel for a week long trip to explore and study different housing models and philosophies in hopes of developing new ones here in NYC.

Focus Group Summary and Recommendations


Two focus groups of parents of young adults with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disorder (IDD) and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were organized and led by the JCC’s Center for Special Needs (CSN) staff on April 18th and April 23rd, 2018 at the JCC Manhattan. In total, 18 parents of 16 individuals participated. The age range of the young adults whose parents attended is 16 to 35 with the majority in their early twenties. They all currently live with their parents, mostly in NYC. 

Focus groups: 

The goals of the groups were: 

(1) To better understand the social and recreational needs of the families served;

(2) To provide information on existing resources that may address some of these needs; and

(3) To facilitate the formation of connections between the parents.

Main findings: 

The central theme present in both focus groups was frustration and concern regarding the two inevitable transitions for each family present:

  • The immediate transition from relying on the special education school system to identifying, obtaining and/or creating services and programs for adults with disabilities. Several parents reported that navigating the associated bureaucratic complexities and finding suitable services places a considerable burden on them of time, knowledge and financial resources. Many parents spoke of the scarcity of services suitable for their children’s needs.
  • The second principle concern was regarding the availability of support systems in the future when the parents will no longer be able to care for their children. 

Recommendations and Potential Directions:

The needs and hopes shared in these two focus groups and in the survey reflect an underlying feeling of loneliness and disconnectedness from society that the young individuals (and sometimes parents) experience, as perceived by their parents, now that they are transitioning into adulthood. 

The concern for future support that will assure that their children’s lives continue to be engaging and meaningful now and when parents will no longer be able to oversee it is great and valid and should be given considerable attention in planning sustainable and/or scalable programs and services.

Addressing these needs can be done in a number of ways including:

  • Establishment of a forum / task-force / opportunities for professionals and family members to share information and collaborate with each other.
  • Development of long-term half/ full day programming focusing on recreational/social and vocational opportunities in a variety of settings.
  • Development and training of natural supports within the community, including community habilitation workers, job coaches, peer mentors/social companions, inclusive programming and volunteer opportunities.

Appendix 1

Prior to the group sessions, a survey was sent to parents who had contacted the CSN JCC staff regarding programming and opportunities for their children. Twelve out of the 14 survey respondents also participated in the groups. The survey found that only 15% of the respondents were satisfied with their children’s social/ recreational life. The predominant unfulfilled needs were related to social programming and friendship opportunities. More detailed demographics and survey responses are listed below. 

jcc data.png

Appendix 2 - The needs, hopes and specific areas of interest expressed by the parents include

Immediate needs:

Full/half day Post-21 programming where interests and social needs are addressed. 

  • Structured opportunities for socialization in order to create meaningful and age-appropriate friendships in contained and inclusive settings. 
    • Structured recreational and social programming suitable for individuals who need a higher level of support, such as individuals with limited verbal communication, behavioral issues or physical disabilities.
    • Particular areas of individual interest mentioned: culinary, pottery, fashion, theater groups, social skills, art and culture.
    • Programming focused on wellness: healthy habits and choices in nutrition, fitness, etc.
  • Vocational training and long-term supported job placement programs.
  • Travel-training support to enable participation in activities.
  • Becoming part of New York City society through engaging with the many cultural opportunities the city has to offer and developing a sense of belonging, as well as a greater level of independence and confidence in the city environment.
  • Inclusive programming involving peer mentors. 
  • A forum to share and receive updated information regarding services and to advocate for needs.

Future needs:

  • Sustainable long-term housing solutions.
  • Continued education opportunities in formal and informal settings.
  • Promotion of self-advocacy skills.
  • Programming developing independent living skills, focusing on Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) such as managing self-finance, shopping and meal preparation, household maintenance, etc. 
  • Programming related to sexuality and intimacy.


Integrated Supportive Housing (ISH): Capital Funding from NY State OPWDD

Integrated Supportive Housing (ISH): Capital Funding from NY State OPWDD

Via our friend John Maltby of NY Alliance and sent to NY State Housing Navigators:

Tricia Downes, Senior Policy Analyst from OPWDD Homes and Community Living Division of Person Centered Supports met with the latest Housing Navigator class last week to discuss ISH and followed up with the information below:

“As discussed during last week’s Housing Navigator class, I am forwarding information regarding OPWDD’s Integrated Supportive Housing (ISH) program.

“Any Housing Navigators with additional questions can reach either me or Alex Brooks by email.


Please see the attached application for OPWDD capital funding for projects applying for larger funding under NYS Homes and Community Renewal’s (HCR’s) 2017 Unified Funding RFP.  Please note the due date of 4:30 pm on Monday, October 16 for all applications, which must be submitted to the following email box:    

If you have any questions regarding this application, please contact Patricia Downes or Alexander Brooks of OPWDD Office of Home and Community Living at 518-473-1973.

JoAnn Lamphere, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Person Centered Supports