Modified: September 26, 2019 9:11am
NY State developmental disabilities agency to add Buffalo office
by: Al Vaughters
Posted: Sep 25, 2019 / 07:57 PM EDT / Updated: Sep 25, 2019 / 08:06 PM EDT
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Years of protests and prodding state officials seem to be paying off for Western New Yorkers with developmental disabilities.
The New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities is setting up a second regional office which the agency’s clients say will be much more accessible than the lone OPWDD office in West Seneca.
Western New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, their advocates, and a host of elected officials launched a “walk and roll” protest last year, calling attention the two-and-a-half miles between the West Seneca Developmental Disabilities Services Office (DDSO) on East and West Road and the closest Metro Bus stop at the Southgate Plaza.
The OPWDD now plans to locate a new satellite office at an office building on Broadway, near Fillmore Avenue, which houses offices for the Western New York Human Services Collaborative and a branch of the post office.
Samuel Mattle, the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Self Advocacy said the new office is significant because of its location and accessibility to Metro Bus routes.
“It is important because it gives us access to services, but it also gives us access to a voice, to say something, to be in a room with people that make decisions, and that they need to hear us as much as we need to listen to them.”
Dr. Theodore Kastner, the Commissioner for the State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities is expected to participate in the announcement of the new office on Tuesday, October 1, which marks the start of National Disabilities Awareness Month.
The office building on Broadway is part of a “shared space” project, encompassing several human services agencies, with redevelopment costs of the 5 story building amounting to more than $4 million.
Work on the new DDSO office is set to start next week, and wrap up early next year.