The article below was written by Shauna Lozada and David Stone, of AHRC New York City’s Employment and Business Services.

Employment and Business Services Supports FDNY in Fight against COVID-19

Over 25 years ago, AHRC New York City’s Employment and Business Services (EBS) developed Hudson River Services (HRS) as a way to create employment opportunities for those we support and to create a business that would become viable and self-sustaining throughout New York City. Today, HRS employs more than 500 people and has developed expertise in several lines of service. Our largest and most sophisticated is our Janitorial Services unit, which is utilized by more than 50 municipal, state, and federal agencies at well over 200 locations.  The COVID-19 pandemic has moved our services front and center, and our team has exceeded all expectations. I’d like to share with you the following example of HRS continuing to exceed expectations in this time of crisis.

Steve Towler, Vice President of Programs & Business Development, EBS

Serving First Responders

HRS teams are on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic, working side-by-side with emergency responders to make sure they are equipped and ready! HRS is responsible for cleaning and sanitizing all of FDNY’s EMS facilities throughout Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island—at least 86 facilities in total. Due to the pandemic, EMS staff is spending even more time out in the field than ever, so to help put them at ease and make it easier for them to do their jobs, the HRS teams provide crucial cleanings at the EMS facilities and firehouses on what is now in many cases an increased, seven-day-per-week schedule. HRS has stepped up to conduct specialized COVID-19 cleaning in addition to our standard daily cleaning.

Jobs with Purpose

A singular mission of keeping all New Yorkers safe has led the way for meaningful opportunities, with such great purpose, for workers with intellectual & developmental disabilities.  Accomplishing this task requires tremendous effort and collaboration by AHRC NYC’s EBS team. While more than 35 HRS workers support the safety of our first responders, 15 dedicated members of our coaching staff work alongside them to ensure their success and the safety of all involved. They do so by providing additional training on expanded safety protocols and by ensuring that all workers are wearing the necessary PPE.

EBS Director, Salvador Moran said, “In my 27 years of working to help individuals with special needs, I have always been amazed and inspired by the contributions that people with disabilities make in our communities. Today, people with disabilities, along with Direct Support Professionals such as Job Coaches, are working together to reduce the spread of the outbreak. This breaks barriers and challenges stereotypes.”

HRS workers, along with staff, are working hard to ensure that we help keep FDNY’s EMS units going for all of New York City! Not only do our workers love their jobs, but they are dedicated and committed to the crucial work of the fire department. We salute them, as they are heroes too!