May 05, 2020 Update:

A Message to AHRC New York City Staff

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We are now two months into our COVID-19 response. While we have suffered heartbreaking losses and have struggled through many challenges, our staff’s extraordinary devotion, caring and tireless efforts to support people with disabilities, their families, and each other, has been unprecedented.

As we continue to navigate the weeks ahead, let’s pause and celebrate the enormous power of team diversity. We are all different in so many ways, but these differences are grounded in the recognition that we share a common purpose. In our work with people with disabilities, this is one of the most essential and optimistic ways of embracing our common humanity. Disability can mean “different”, but we all know it does not mean less human. Our nation’s founding premise was that of equal rights and it must always be our North Star. Doing our best to keep the people we support safe from the coronavirus is not just a programmatic or clinical effort, it is grounded in the basic human rights of the people we support.

We urge you to sign this Change.org Petition!

Petition for Funding from the Federal Government to the State of NY


This petition is asking for additional and meaningful funding from the federal government. The I/DD system is supported primarily by Medicaid funding, which provides the essential services that New Yorkers with I/DD rely upon. Ours is the hardest hit state in the nation during this pandemic, which has resulted in an unprecedented revenue shortfall. As a result, these critical supports and services to people with I/DD are in jeopardy. Our great state has always been committed to providing essential services for all New Yorkers. We stand with Governor Andrew Cuomo in calling for vital federal aid and ask you to do the same to help New York uphold its responsibility to our loved ones.

So, while we cannot predict when the coronavirus crisis will truly settle down and end, we can find some comfort knowing that we are truly all in this together and, because of that, our bonds will be even further strengthened as we learn together, plan together and rebuild together.

If the response to the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that together we are truly better and can overcome unimaginable obstacles if we stay the course.

Marco Damiani

Chief Executive Officer

As of today at AHRC New York City:

  • AHRC NYC schools are physically closed in keeping with the Mayor and Governor’s directive that schools not reopen this school year. That being said, our teachers and school administrators are working remotely with families, providing the children we serve with virtual opportunities that are educational, therapeutic, and fun.
  • Our Day Centers throughout the five boroughs are physically closed. Individuals are not receiving support on-site, but staff continues to reach out and check in with all families to offer all types of assistance and support. For example, AHRC NYC’s Our Broadway group is meeting – singing, dancing, and acting – virtually! Art classes and studio work is continuing. And, our Melissa Riggio Higher Education Program college students are partaking in offerings at the respective colleges they attend. A parent recently sent us this note, indicating the impact that virtual support have had on a family member: “I was so fearful that he would forget everyone or that he would feel distant or alone, and with your assistance, his connection has instead grown! I think his understanding and communication skills have actually increased!”
  • AHRC NYC residences are all open and telehealth is available at every residence. In addition, Day Services are being provided to residents by staff from Day Services. We thank those staff for working in concert with their colleagues in the residences.
  • While several of our residences have suffered great losses, the majority are free of the Coronavirus and Corona-like illness. Everyone who has been following our virus management procedures has contributed to limiting the spread of the virus.
  • People employed through our Employment & Business Services Division (EBS), have fared the same way as people in the general population. Some people are still employed and receiving support from AHRC NYC job coaches, while some have unfortunately lost their jobs as have many other New Yorkers. Some people working on contracts cleaning FDNY facilities have been hailed as essential workers alongside the firefighters!
  • A large variety of Recreation Services are being offered using Zoom and other online platforms. These sessions include yoga, arts and crafts, exercise, discussion groups about many topics of interest, and a virtual dance party on Saturday evenings.
  • AHRC NYC’s Clinic is providing tele-mental health services by psychologists and social workers. These clinicians are also available to perform psychosocial evaluations.
  • AHRC NYC leadership is finalizing a plan for the gradual reopening of services and the increase of staff coming into Maiden Lane and other non-programmatic spaces. Eventual restarts will be subject to guidance from the NYC and NYS Departments of Health and OPWDD (Office for People with Developmental Disabilities).

For Families:

  • Realizing that the needs of families extend beyond service delivery and continues to grow, we have continuously updated our Resource Guide. The Guide contains resources that can offer all types of assistance from mental health counseling to unemployment and rent benefits. The Guide can be found here.

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