NY Connects

00:00:00 Speaker 1 

Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is Amanda Pinter, NY Connects Region 1 coordinator at WNYIL. And I'm your host Ernie Churchwell. Welcome to the program, Amanda. 

00:00:18 Speaker 2 

Thank you for having me. 

00:00:20 Speaker 1 

Our pleasure. NY Connects is an interesting program in that it's both intrinsic to and separate from the rest of WNYIL. I guess the first question is just whom does NY Connects serve? 

00:00:41 Speaker 2 

So, we serve anybody who's in need of information on long-term supports and services. So that includes older adults. Anybody with a disability or any caregivers calling in to look for information regarding a parent or maybe a child that has a disability. 

00:00:59 Speaker 1 

Alright. And you have colleagues at the other two major WNYIL offices in Niagara Falls and Batavia, I believe. 

00:01:09 Speaker 2 

Yes, we do. And we also have a staff member that services the Seneca Nation territory. 

00:01:17 Speaker 1 

Wonderful and the person that services Seneca Nation as part of the hiring process has to show that they are connected with the culture of American Indians too, I believe. 

00:01:34 Speaker 2 


00:01:36 Speaker 1 

Terrific. Well, so what's the normal procedure for someone to be referred to NY Connects, do they start with the intake office like most people that come to the agency do? 

00:01:50 Speaker 2 

Yeah, there's two different ways. So, you could do it right through our intake, call our number, get associated with the director and then they get sent to our program or we have our own 1-888 statewide phone number as well that they can call us directly and we would link you with a specialist in any of the five core counties we serve as well as the 17 counties in our region. 

00:02:16 Speaker 1 

But as I understand it though, even though you're located at WNYIL, you have a certain independence from them. In what way are you different from other divisions of WNYIL? 

00:02:32 Speaker 2 

Yes. So, we definitely are a part of WNYIL, but also our program is unbiased, meaning that somebody could call us, and we will provide them with all of the options that they are looking for, not just services that WNYIL has, but potentially other agencies and programs that they would qualify for and or could work with in. 

00:02:55 Speaker 1 

Well, that's quite a flexible program you have there. Can you walk us through a typical person that's referred to NY Connects and what you would do for them? 

00:03:07 Speaker 2 

Yes. So, we initially get their basic demographics, we enter them into our database and what we have is called the NY Connect screen. So, we have specific questions that we ask people whether they're looking for home delivered meals or transportation or respite care, whatever their situation is, we kind of prompt those questions, get all of that information and then provide them with all of their options from that point moving forward. 

00:03:36 Speaker 1 

Uh, you said. Sometimes you wind up referring people outside of WNYIL. What are some examples of other organizations you might refer them to? 

00:03:46 Speaker 2 

Yeah. So, we have a partnership with each office for the aging within each county. So, we often refer clients that way in terms of if they need any assistance within the office for the aging, we have a relationship with OMH, Office of Mental Health, as well as the local Department of Social Services. So, we send people that way as well as just any other community-based organizations that we have built a rapport with in the communities that we serve. 

00:04:16 Speaker 1 

And I must salute you for the fact that I didn't have to remind you to spell out what the initializations the acronyms were there. 

00:04:25 Speaker 2 

Yes, I caught myself. 

00:04:27 Speaker 1 

We're already running short on time, but I'm sure people will have questions. How can they reach you? 

00:04:33 Speaker 2 

So, you can reach us at 1-888-564-5171. That's the best way to contact us. 

00:04:43 Speaker 1 

Terrific. Well, thanks so much for being with us, Amanda. 

00:04:46 Speaker 2 

Thank you so much. 

00:04:46 Speaker 1 

You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today was Amanda Pinter, NY Connects Region 1 coordinator. And I've been your host, Ernie Churchwell.