Downtown social services agency The Arc Erie County is moving its administrative offices out of Buffalo and beefing up its services offered in the city for individuals with disabilities.
At the direction of its state oversight agency, The Arc began making the transition from “site-based” to “community-based” services almost two years ago. Part of that transition included changing the organization’s physical footprint. It’s long-time sheltered workshop space at 101 Oak Street – which at one time employed more than 400 individuals with disabilities – began downsizing and eventually went up for sale.
“All our employment programs are now – or will be by October – in the community so that there’s no need for site-based employment any longer, or vocational skill development,” said DiGesare.
The administrative offices once housed between Oak Street and at 2643 Main Street will now be condensed and moved to 30 Wilson Road in Williamsville.
But with recent controversy over the largely inaccessible location of Western New York’s Developmental Disabilities Services Offices in West Seneca, the move begs the question, will The Arc’s new headquarters be accessible to its clients? DiGesare said the Williamsville location is accessible by NFTA bus.
“In addition to that,” said DiGesare, “We will have some individuals coming in and out of there on a daily basis as a hub to do certain community events and outings. But they would be provided transportation also to that location.”
DiGesare said in discussions with family members of clients back when planning for The Arc’s transition first began, requests were made for more services in the north towns. The new office in Williamsville suits that demand and is juxtaposed with a site The Arc opened in Hamburg.
The Arc’s Main Street location sits just across the street from the Amherst Street Metro Rail station, and is surrounded by cross-town bus lines. Following approval for a special use permit from the Buffalo Planning Board, it will be renovated to become a hub of services for day habilitation, community habilitation, supported employment, and case management.