Open Doors 

This program is designed to provide any nursing home resident with a disability and/or their family about the opportunity to understand the rights of residents in long-term care facilities and the options available to him or her to return to the community and housing of his or her choice. 

Open Doors is a community based service that is available to assist with transition from Long Term Care, Nursing Home, Psychiatric Center, or any long term facility, back to home or residence of the individual's choice. This program assists in increasing each person's quality of life. 

Independent Living Specialist (ILS) provide five core services: Peer Services, Independent Living Skills, Youth/Adult Transitional Services, Advocacy and Information and Referral.

1. Peer Services

ILS at Independent Living Centers are peers with lived experience. The peer philosophy is truly something that is unique to ILC’s and have and will continue to benefit the consumers that come into ILC’s for services. 

2. Independent Living Skills

One of the core services that every independent living center offers is "independent living skills." These skills are taught to assist each person with a disability the skill set that he or she may need to remain independent in the home and/or community in which he or she chooses. 

These skills may include budgeting, cleaning, cooking, transportation (public or private,) education, vocational, social skills, advocacy, etc. Each skill assists the individual in obtaining a goal on his or her Independent Living Plan (ILP).

3. Youth Transition Services

ILC breaks transitional services into two groups youth transition ages 14-24 transition planning through school, into college and future employment. This can be through attending transition meetings through school, teaching advocacy skills and 504 for college and linking with waiver services and programs and/or ACCES-VR for resources to be successful in obtaining degrees and/or employment.  

Adult Transitional Services

Open Door supports in the nursing home transition, but an ILS can support in obtaining services to remain in the community. Services can include but not be limited to obtaining Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) Aide Services, accessing Waiver Services, reviewing Managed Care Organizations (MCO) or Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) Services, and Department of Social Services(DSS).

4. Advocacy

ILS are able to support their consumers in navigating various programs whether Social Security Administration (SSA), Waiver Services, New York State Education Department (NYSED), Adult Career and Continuing Education Services – Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR), Department of Social Services (DSS), Managed Care Organizations (MCO) or Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) and others. ILS can support in applications, understanding of services as well as appeals process. 

Educational Advocate
Our educational advocate can support the individuals and their family/guardian in navigating the education system. The educational advocate can attend Committee on Preschool Education (CPSE) and Committee on Special Education (CSE) meeting along side the individual and their family to help clarify and advocate on behalf of the student. 

Educational Advocates have become important in the time of transitioning between grades as well as their transition years starting as early as 12 in planning for their future. The Educational Advocate is great when seeking Community Based Services, County and State Resources to support the individual with all services that they are eligible for to get the most support in obtaining their future foals towards college and employment. 

5. Information and Referral

ILS are able to connect with appropriate community based organizations and services as well as county and state resources that may support the consumer in reaching their goal of living as independently in the community of their choice. 

Aged, Blind & Disabled Medicaid Application Assistance Program

Funded by the New York State Department of Health (DOH), the Medicaid Application Assistance Program (MAAP) helps individuals who are over 65, certified blind and/or disabled regardless of age, to apply for programs through Department of Social Services, including, Community Medicaid programs,  Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities, Medicaid Spend-Down, Managed Long Term Care (MLTC), and Nursing Home/Chronic Care Coverage.

This program was created to ensure the Aged, Blind and Disabled have access to comprehensive, affordable health insurance. We have a team of experienced enrollment staff throughout Western New York who are ready to assist you with the application process for Medicaid.

NY Connects

Works in collaboration with 18 NY Counties Department of Senior Services to expand and enhance access to services for all individuals living with a disability, seniors and/or caregivers to access services and resources. An Independent Living Specialist will assist through Person Centered Options Counseling to identify those resources most appropriate to meet the individual’s needs.

Medical Loan Closet

If you, or a family member, are in need of durable medical equipment to assist with personal needs or mobility, WNYIL has a supply of canes, walkers, commodes, wheelchairs, and shower benches to provide the required assistance as needed. You do not have to be a consumer of the agency – we are happy to help anyone in need of such equipment.  Simply call 716-836-0822 ext. 100 to arrange pick up (sorry, we do not deliver).

 We are also happy to take such items as donations to help those in need. Donations can be dropped off at 3158 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.