For people throughout New York City’s five boroughs who are struggling with developmental disabilities, mental retardation, or behavioral health challenges, the smallest tasks can be a daily struggle. In 1997, when EIHAB Human Services first began its mission while serving a population of 10, it was with the goal of providing the resources to promote independence for these individuals. Fifteen years later, EIHAB Human Services has evolved into a multilingual, multicultural not-for-profit organization that serves both adults and children in New York, New Jersey and Northern Pennsylvania.
Led by Chief Executive Officer Fatma Abboud, EIHAB Human Services currently operates 19 Individualized Residential Alternative facilities, three Day Habilitation Centers, and a boarding school. In addition, the organization provides after-school care and respite for individual families, Medicaid service coordination, Residential Habilitation, Supportive Living options, and Family Transportation Services.
In order to provide the best quality of service to its client base, EIHAB Human Services employs a staff of direct care providers, teachers, therapists, social workers, medical professionals, and administrators who have a shared vision of empowering the disabled. These care providers take a holistic approach to caring for people affected by disabilities by empowering them to make their own choices, rather than relying on psychotropic medications and other restrictive procedures.
As the individuals aided by EIHAB Human Services take steps towards independence, their care providers strive to help each person become a productive member of society. Whether it is by offering pre-vocational or vocational training, or supportive housing arrangements, the EIHAB professionals are there to guide their clients every step of the way.
Among the many services offered by EIHAB, Medicaid Service Coordination is of crucial importance. Since understanding one’s options can be a challenge, EIHAB’s coordinators act as the liaisons between individuals and families and the services that are available to them. The coordinators link their clients to all of the available resources, including Medicaid, Social Security and other entitlements. In addition to the initial step of introducing families to appropriate service providers, the coordinators go a step beyond by monitoring the provision of services monthly to ensure that the client’s needs are being met.
Keeping with EIHAB’s mission to promote the independence of its clients whenever possible, the skilled staff offers a variety of support programs designed for individuals living on their own or with their families, including Residential Habilitation, Supportive Living, and In-Home Respite Services.
Residential Habilitation provides at-home instruction on daily living skills and trains family members on how to work with their loved ones to encourage them to become more independent. Supportive Living focuses on those clients with developmental disabilities who are capable of living on their own, and offers them monthly meetings to review their service plans. In-Home Respite serves the family members who live with a developmentally disabled loved one—EIHAB staff members stay in the home with the disabled individual, allowing the family more time to focus on responsibilities outside of the home.
For school-age children living in Queens with developmental disabilities, EIHAB hosts an after school program in Queens Village to provide individuals with educational enhancements. Recreational activities are also an important part of the after school program, as they teach the children important social interaction skills. As an added benefit, participation in this program allows the children’s parents to have more time at their jobs.
The EIHAB Human Services staff makes every attempt to have its mentally, developmentally and behaviorally disabled clients live comfortably in their own homes or with their families for as long as possible. One example of how EIHAB does this is through the Transportation Reimbursement Program, which supports families who need assistance in transporting their loved ones to and from valuable services. The program covers the transportation costs that are not paid by Medicaid.
However, if and when the times comes that an individual with a disability must seek support in a residential facility, EIHAB Human Services is there to make the transition easier on the client and their family, and to provide them with various options. EIHAB operates group homes at various locations in Queens and Brooklyn, including Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Tiff Court, Rockaway, Canarsie, Chauncey, and Pilling Street. In 2012 alone, EIHAB acquired five additional residential facilities.
The group homes, known as Individualized Residential Alternatives, provide residents with care around the clock by a staff of trained specialists. Although the residents are not living independently, the staff focuses on fostering daily living skills that will help them to navigate social interactions. These skills range from self-care, cooking, and independent living to money management, personal shopping and recreation.
By bringing the organization’s mission to life through the services provided each day, EIHAB Human Services helps to increase the public’s awareness of the issues that affect those with developmental, behavioral, and mental disabilities. Each month, EIHAB hosts a Community Advisory Breakfast where public officials and community leaders come together at an EIHAB residential or day habilitation facility to discuss pressing issues related to the developmentally disabled with members of the organization. Most recently, this month’s breakfast meeting was held on September 14 at EIHAB Human Services Springfield Day-Hab on South Conduit Avenue in Springfield Gardens.
To celebrate the organization’s 15th anniversary and mark the accomplishments of the organization and the individuals it serves, EIHAB will hold a dinner dance fundraiser on October 11 at the Sand Castles in Franklin Square. The event, which will run from 6:30 p.m. until midnight, will feature celebrity guests who support EIHAB’s mission. The event will honor Victoria Schneps, founder of Schneps Communications, Richard Dzwlewicz, Executive Vice President of TD Bank, and Matilda Raffa Cuomo, founder of Mentoring USA and former First Lady of New York State. Guests will also be privy to a book signing of The Person Who Changed My Life. For tickets, call 718-276-6101.
In the months and years ahead, EIHAB Human Services plans to further extend the number of homes and services that it provides to the disabled community. “We recognize that our rapid and successful growth could not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of our competent staff, and the support of our executive Board of Directors, families, community, and our State officials,” said Abboud in a letter to the EIHAB community advisory. “For this reason, our deepest appreciation goes out to all involved.”
To learn more about EIHAB Human Services, to apply for services, or to donate to the organization’s work, visit www.eihab.org or call 800-756-3813.