Know the Facts

As we learn information about COVID-19 and how it is affecting Aspire and our community, we will continue to post resources and updates on this page. Please check back often and if you have any questions please feel free to call us at 716.838.0047, email us at or fill out our contact form online and someone will respond to you as quickly as possible.

Committee of Last Resort is now Helping Hands!

Aspire of WNY’s Committee of Last Resort is a small grants program that has supported the needs of individuals with disabilities in the Western NY community for over 20 years. In order to better align this program’s format with Aspire’s mission, vision and values, Committee of Last Resort will now be known as Helping Hands.

Helping Hands transition flyer

Center for Learning Update

Under the guidance of the Erie County Department of Health and the Center for Learning’s Safety Plan, we have determined that our School Aged and On-Site Preschool will transition to remote learning. The families and caregivers of our students have been contacted. Additionally, teachers and therapists have followed up with their individual students.

The building will also be undergoing a deep cleaning. We are scheduled to return to in-person classes on Oct. 19th.  The Center for Learning Safety Plan can be viewed on

Aspire Reopening Safety Plans

Aspire of Western New York invites you to review the following Safety and Reopening Plans.

Free Standing Respite

Community Based PreVoc Programs

Community Based Supports- Community Habilitation and In-Home Respite (Self-Directed and Traditional), Community Pre-Vocation, SEMP

CFL – Center For Learning

Safety Plans below are for Day Hab, SVLE and Co-Op Tech Buffalo in Erie and Chautauqua Counties:

7 Community Drive Habilitation 


Co-Op. Tech 


Mall Blvd Day Habilitation

SVLE Central 


SVLE South


Aspire Owned Vehicles and Transportation 

COVID-19 Resources for Self-Advocates

Here are some great resources made by and for people with developmental disabilities about COVID-19.

Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center

Click on the underlined words to see the resources:

Informational Video on COVID-19

What You Need to Know About COVID-19 (Video)

Learn all about COVID-19 in plain language. Made by Rooted in Rights in collaboration with Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

Video Series – Critical COVID Information for Self-Advocates

Four-part video series from English- and Spanish-speaking self-advocates giving critical COVID information. Produced by California DD Council.

New Toolkit – A Self-Advocate’s Guide to COVID-19

Below you can download any of the eight parts or the entire toolkit.

Hospital Care

Because of Coronavirus most hospitals are not allowing visitors. New York self-advocates and families spoke up and got hospitals to allow patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities to have a support person with them when in the ER or staying in a hospital.

Plain Language Information on COVID-19 (in 11 languages)

A basic eight-page booklet about the Coronavirus written by and for people with developmental disabilities. It focuses on “need to know” information (not “nice to know” information). Our goal is to keep people with disabilities healthy during this national crisis

Governor Cuomo’s PAUSE Program

(updated April 17)

Governor Cuomo’s PAUSE Program has been extended through May 15, 2020. Please see full details on this program below.

The Governor’s 10-point NYS on PAUSE plan is as follows:
  1. Effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22, all non-essential businesses statewide will be closed;
  2. Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time;
  3. Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced;
  4. When in public individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others;
  5. Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet;
  6. Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people;
  7. Individuals should limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least six feet from other riders;
  8. Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care and only after a telehealth visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health;
  9. Young people should also practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations; and
  10. Use precautionary sanitizer practices such as using isopropyl alcohol wipes.

“Matilda’s Law” includes the following rules for vulnerable populations:

  • Remain indoors;
  • Can go outside for solitary exercise;
  • Pre-screen all visitors and aides by taking their temperature and seeing if person is exhibiting other flu-like symptoms;
  • Do not visit households with multiple people;
  • Wear a mask when in the company of others;
  • To the greatest extent possible, everyone in the presence of vulnerable people should wear a mask;
  • Always stay at least six feet away from individuals; and
  • Do not take public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary.

Key helpful links to keep you informed during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Erie County Health Department –

Office of People with Developmental Disabilities –

New York State Governor Cuomo –

An Update from NY State of Health

As we work through these challenging times together, NY State of Health is committed to ensuring access to affordable, quality health insurance for all New Yorkers so they can get the care they need during this state of emergency.

With the recent closure of businesses across the state, many New Yorkers are at risk of losing their health insurance coverage as a result of COVID-19. Many are likely to be eligible for health coverage with financial assistance through NY State of Health due to their loss of coverage and income. NY State of Health opened a Special Enrollment Period last month for people who are uninsured, and the Marketplace has started an awareness campaign to let people know that NY State of Health is there as a safety net in difficult times like these.

New Yorkers who are without health insurance should apply now through NY State of Health. If you lost employer coverage, you must apply within 60 days of losing that coverage. Because of a loss of income, New Yorkers may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan, Child Health Plus, or subsidized Qualified Health Plan coverage.

Thousands of assistors are ready throughout the state to help consumers enroll by phone. NY State of Health is committed to helping New Yorkers get the coverage they need so they can get the care they need.

Visit us at and let us help you find a health care plan that works for you.

If you have additional questions you can contact the Marketplace directly at 518-486-9102 or

Residential Opportunities

Residential Opportunities

Residential Opportunities is open and providing our full array of services in all of our community based homes (IRAs). We are carefully following national and local directives to ensure we are keeping our residents safe and healthy. We are strictly limiting visitors and community outings per the guidance we have received from regulatory agencies. We will keep you abreast of any changes or updates that need to be made in the future. 

Suspended Services

Suspended Services at Aspire

Effective March 19th, Community and Independent Living Supports has temporarily suspended Pre-Vocational Supports, Free Standing Respite, After School Respite, Saturday site based Respite.

We are continuing limited Community Habilitation, In home Respite, Self-Directed Services and employment supports to ensure people living in the community with minimal support have the needed supplies and services they require.

The Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has released the below guidance related to visitation at Individualized Residential Alternatives (IRAs), Community Residences and Private Schools.  Please click on the link for details.

Aspire of WNY Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We have received a directive from the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) that we are to temporarily suspend our services for all Day Habilitation, Day Treatment and Prevocational Programs, effective 5 p.m. today.

After appropriate COVID-19 screening, we will be working to provide alternative programming for families that are negatively affected by the suspension of these services. Please note these are temporary suspensions.

We ask you send all questions regarding the impact of services due to COVID-19 to

Thank you for your support as we work to remain current in this ever-changing environment.

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