Newfound Independence for Two Aspire of WNY Participants…and They’re Loving It!

Aspire of WNY’s Self-Directed Services is excited to highlight an amazing story of one family’s move to independence.

Giuliana and Erin Pachioli have been participants with self-direction since 2015. Their goal, along with their family, is to live as independently as possible in the community. Giuliana and Erin secured long-term employment in the community with Supported Employment (SEMP) programming and worked on their independent living skills with the help of family and staff while living at home with their family.

In September 2019, Giuliana moved into a certified-supported apartment to continue her journey toward independent living. Erin followed in September 2021, joining Giuliana in the same supported apartment location. While the supported apartment provided the young women with some independence, it also presented barriers to self-directing. Due to some budgeting restrictions from other programs, the young women could not effectively utilize staffing support from their self-directed budgets. The minimal support available at the apartment left their family responsible for providing a large portion of the transportation and recreational opportunities for the young women.

It soon became evident that the young women were ready to move out of a certified setting and into an apartment of their own. With assistance from their family, an apartment in the community was identified, and they began the moving process. With the support of their team, the young women secured Community Transition Stipends through Aspire of WNY, which provided them with the necessary items to make their new apartment a home. A housing stipend referral was submitted, and both women were approved for an Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) housing stipend through their self-direction budgets. A budget amendment was completed, and in October of 2023, the women successfully moved into their apartment together!

Giuliana and Erin love their newfound independence and life in the community! Giuliana can now walk to and from work daily, eliminating transportation concerns and allowing her to be even more independent. They have secured staff, including Colleen, who assists the young women with laundry, independent living skills, and community inclusion opportunities after work two days per week. Erin has continued her horseback riding lessons, which are now supported by her self-hired staff.

Aspire of WNY is sending a huge congratulations to Giuliana and Erin on their successful transition to community living and wishes them all the best moving forward! We can’t wait to see what life has in store for you both!