OAHIIO

OAHIIO is a nonprofit Independent Living Center (ILC) that is staffed and governed by Native Americans with disabilities. It is a part of the WNY Independent Living, Inc. (WNYIL), a family of agencies and is a catalyst for systems and individual change, enhancing the quality of life for persons with disabilities, while respecting diversity and promoting choices and alternative for independent living in our societies.

OAHIIO Services

Independent Living Specialist
The Native American Independent Living Specialist provides assistance and instruction to Native Americans wishing to learn or relearn daily living skills. These could consist of matters such as managing family activities, household chores, work tasks and education assignments through the use of tools, techniques and assistive technology for greater independence.

Native American Independent Living Demonstration (NAILD) Project
OAHIIO is the proud recipient of the Native American Independent Living Demonstration Project NAILD. There were only 3 of these grants awarded in the entire country and Western New York Independent Living is proud to be one of them! This grant is intended to develop capacity building within existing centers for Independent Living to increase service to individuals with disabilities in Indian Country. We seek to gain understanding of service needs of Native Americans living with disabilities living on and off reservations in Western New York. We realize that our native populations differ greatly from urban to rural, as well as throughout each of the different nations that reside within New York State and the surrounding area. We embrace the diversity among Native Americans and wish to help them improve the quality of life.
 
As part of the demonstration project we seek to improve cultural competence regarding the needs of specific tribal organizations. Meaning, we are willing to work with Nation Leaders to collaborate our efforts with the Independent Living philosophy, in a way that promotes diversity, cultural understanding and sensitivity and helps to capture lessons and best practices for other independent living centers to utilize for service delivery. If you know someone who could benefit from OAHIIO’s program please feel free to refer them to our program.
 
Lois Jircitano,  Engagement and Referral Program Leader, (716) 284-4131 ext. 220

NY Connects Independent Living Specialist
Funded by the New York State Office For the Aging, the Balancing Incentive Program (BIP), along with New York Connects. This program was created as a partnership to expand and enhance NY Connects program funding for opportunity for Independent Living Centers and/ or Community-Based organizations to provide Information and Assistance (I & A) and Options Counseling/Person-Centered Counseling (OC/PCC) for older adults with disabilities so that people can live independently and remain in their home and community.

Benefits Advisement
A program designed to assist people in obtaining/ maintaining government benefits in order to manage their disability. Benefits advisements provide information & referral, advocacy, and peer counseling in obtaining SSI, SSDI, Social Services (Health Insurance, Food Stamps, Cash Assistance) benefits and maintaining them.
 

Carly Lapp, Certified Benefits Advisor/ Independent Living Specialist, (716) 284-4131 ext. 260

Advocacy
Staff uses foundational knowledge of area agencies and community entities to aid consumers in obtaining their rights.

Independent Living Skills Instructions
Staff coach consumers to improve daily living skills, financial management and information about availability of relevant assistive technologies.

Information and Referral
Staff provides guidance to consumers to by identifying available resources, providing answers to their concerns and linking them to culturally sensitive service providers.

Peer Support
OAHIIO staff is comprised mainly of Native Americans, the majority of which are individuals with disabilities. We assist other Native Americans, as well as with anyone with disabilities, by sharing practical experiences.

OAHIIO brochure

473 Third Street, Niagara Falls, New York 14301

Phone: (716) 284-4204  Fax: (716) 834-5647  Toll-free: 1-800-348-8399


NY Connects Resources

NY Connects is a trusted place that gives you information about available options whether you are paying for services yourself, through insurance, or are eligible  for a government program.

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