Life’s WORC day centers for those with developmental disabilities were hit with nearly two feet of snow this weekend across Queens and Long Island, suspending services at some centers through Monday.
A private, nonprofit organization that supports individuals with developmental disabilities inclusive of those on the autism spectrum, Life’s WORC has nearly 40 residential group homes throughout Queens, Nassau, Suffolk and East Harlem, as well as numerous day care centers.
Though no power outages or other problems were reported in any of the residential homes in Queens, the enormous amounts of snow blocked in day centers in Queens Village and Glendale, encasing vans parked on the street. This kept vans from going out to service individuals in Queens, forcing the day center programs to close Monday. Even if the vans had been dug out, poorly plowed roads would have made transportation difficult.
One emergency call from a Queens facility got through on Saturday, with an ambulance arriving during the storm. Thankfully, the patient was treated by ambulance workers at the facility and did not require hospital care.
“We were very fortunate,” said Neil Schweifel, assistant executive director of operations at Life’s WORC. “Despite the intensity of the storm, we only had two homes on Long Island with power outages, and only for a couple of hours.”
Emergency protocols were in place at many residential centers to keep staff on site, with many working additional shifts to care for residents during the storm. Schweifel noted they had to dig themselves out at centers in Queens, but that there were no other serious issues.
“We’re not looking forward to another blizzard,” Schweifel concluded with a laugh.