April 03, 2020 Update:

For Families, People Supported and Staff

A Message from Marco Damiani, CEO, AHRC New York City

As we end another week in our determined efforts to respond to the impact of the coronavirus, I ask that we all pause for a moment to recognize that this past week was among the toughest this organization has ever experienced in our 70-year history. We have lost 3 cherished people who lived in our residences and 2 extraordinary staff members to the virus. We must steel ourselves going forward in the recognition that more lives may be lost in the near future. We also must take the time to celebrate the joy and unique value that each of these individuals brought to so many lives. This week, three people returned from the hospital COVID-free, so we also have encouragement.

Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. Every day, in fact, every hour, I am moved by what AHRC NYC staff are doing minute-by-minute to keep the people we support safe, and to keep each other safe. Our front-line workforce has one of the most difficult jobs in our nation right now. Our obligation and commitment to our community is to be a strident advocate for all of the resources needed to get us through this pandemic and to emerge as strong as ever in promoting the well-being of and opportunities for people with disabilities throughout New York City and beyond.

So, as we reflect upon the challenges, sorrows, and successes of the past few weeks, please take a moment to thank those around you, be grateful for the power of working together for the common good, and do what is necessary to revitalize and take care of yourself in the days and weeks to come.

The African proverb that you have likely heard many times before, “If you want to travel fast go alone. If you want to travel far, go together“ has never had more meaning than it does for all of us at AHRC New York City. We still have some distance to go, and the distance will continue to be extraordinarily difficult, but I know, based on what I know about our history, that we will prevail.

Stay well,

Marco

 

As of today:

At this point, almost all of us have likely been exposed to the virus. Some will never know and be symptom-free and will have mild to moderate symptoms that will resolve in a week or two.  A much smaller number of people will need access to appropriate treatment from medical professionals. We are doing the best we can to take care of people in the AHRC NYC community. We have been successful in obtaining additional supplies of PPE, (protective personal equipment) and are currently in possession of an ample supply although, we are continuously in search of additional equipment to keep our devoted staff protected.

On the Advocacy Front:

On Monday, March 30th, Marco Damiani our CEO, was interviewed by Errol Louis on NY1, click here to watch the video. Marco did a wonderful job explaining the needs of people with I/DD and the staff who support them to average New Yorkers, many of whom have no understanding of our field. This piece will undoubtedly help us in our advocacy efforts to obtain what we need during this crisis and after. In fact, Errol Louis, the reporter who interviewed Marco, wrote an editorial in the Daily News about the needs of people with I/DD and the dedicated staff who work with them. Click here to read the article.

Another interview with Marco and some of AHRC NYC’s front-line workforce will appear in the Brooklyn Eagle and the Queens Daily Eagle. These interviews will also highlight the ongoing needs of our community.

For Families:

Realizing the needs of families that go beyond our service delivery, we have compiled a Resource Guide that we hope will prove useful. The Guide contains resources that can offer all types of assistance from mental health counseling to unemployment and rent benefits currently available. Click here to view AHRC NYC’s Resource Guide.

We will attempt to keep everyone informed. We request that all families send their personal email address to stayintouch@ahrcnyc.org. Please include the name of your family member, your name and cell phone number or home number in order to facilitate communication.