Independent Living Services

BRiDGES operates a variety of programs under the heading of Independent Living Services (ILS).  Programs and services are guided by the philosophy of Independent Living to provide the necessary supports for individuals with disabilities to experience autonomy in all areas of living.   BRiDGES works with ACCES-VR to achieve aggregate goals for services expected in Rockland County and provides regular reports for each area of ILS.  Many of these programs are operated in collaboration with other service providers, government agencies, and community partners.These programs are:

BRiDGES is an approved provider of ACCES-VR, a division of the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to provide ACCES-VR orientation and services of ILS, including and not limited to:

  • Benefits Advisement
  • Work Readiness
  • Supported Employment
  • Youth Employment Services
  • Mobility Training
  • Job Placement

BRiDGES Program Advocates work collaboratively with ACCES-VR Counselors to identify individuals in need and ensure that services are provided in a timely manner. Referrals are reviewed routinely regarding quality of service as well as to identify additional individual needs.

Nursing Home Transition/Diversion (NHTD)
Nursing Home Transition/Diversion Waiver (NHTD) is a Medicaid Waiver program serving individuals with Medicaid that are either in or at risk of going in to a nursing home. The emphasis of this program is to assist individuals with a person-centered, Individual Service Plan (ISP) developed to support independence, integration into the community, health and welfare.

Open Doors
Open Doors is a specialized service to assist individuals living in a nursing home or Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) in making decisions regarding home and community-based services. Open Doors meets with individuals and their families to provide information regarding services and supports available in the community. Individuals choosing to live in the community are referred to the Regional Resource Development Center (RRDC) for consideration of NHTD services. Individuals may also be referred to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

BRiDGES works collaboratively with the lead agency, Westchester Independent Living Center, to identify individuals in need of an assessment and consideration for Open Doors. This contract is monitored by New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) and NY Department of Health (NYDOH).

Job Coaching/Job Development
BRiDGES Job Coaches work collaboratively with Rockland Psychiatric Center (RPC) Vocational Counselors to secure job placement and provide on-going job coaching. These services provide an essential support helping individuals secure and maintain gainful employment according to their individual, person-centered goals.

National Work Readiness Program
BRiDGES proudly participates in the evidence-based National Work Readiness Program (NWRP), in collaboration with the East Ramapo School District, serving students with disabilities. Through NWRP, students with disabilities currently enrolled in a track for a Regents’ diploma are eligible for certification in Career Development & Occupational Studies (CDOS). Students who may not successfully complete eligibility for a Regents’ diploma may complete CDOS eligibility. Each student receiving a CDOS certificate has demonstrated sufficient achievement regarding key employment skills, including: Reading, Math, Active Listening, and Situational Judgment.

Employment Academy
BRiDGES operates an Employment Academy funded through a grant from NYSED in fulfillment of the State Plan on Independent Living (SPIL) to provide a variety of employment skills training activities for individuals with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 24 years. Individuals enrolled in the BRiDGES Employment Academy are able to participate in NWRP. The BRiDGES Employment Academy curriculum includes: vocational exploration, social skills, employment searches, interviewing, resume-writing, and job mentoring. All participants are enrolled in Career Zone.

Equine Therapy
Due to the generosity of a private benefactor, BRiDGES offers students with disabilities a unique opportunity at Silver Rock Farm, a recognized member center of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH). Students receive individual instruction demonstrating safe and thoughtful horsemanship. This program expands personal, emotional and physical boundaries; enhances the quality of life for people with disabilities through recreational therapy; fosters positive relationships between families, rider, volunteer, and horse; and develops a foundation of solid technique and knowledgeable handling.

Food Pantry
BRiDGES operates a food pantry as a member agency of the Hudson Valley Food Bank (HVFB). Through this community-based program, individuals who qualify for services are able to receive fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, and bread on a weekly basis. Eligibility is determined by income level and residency. Participants are required to register annually. HVFB also offers monthly nutrition classes at BRiDGES through the Just Say Yes to Fruits & Vegetables initiative.

  • BRiDGES Food Pantry is included in the Rockland County Disaster Relief Plan
  • Nanuet Lion’s Club operates food drives to support the BRiDGES Food Pantry.

Medicaid Services
In addition to the direct services provided to individuals with Medicaid through PASER, BRiDGES plays a central role in assisting individuals with disabilities access necessary services. New York State is currently implementing changes in Medicaid funding and service authorization. As a leading advocate, BRiDGES is positioned to help individuals understand these changes and gain access to services according to individual needs.

BRiDGES partners with Refuah Community Health Center to help individuals navigate Medicaid in order to improve their access to a variety of services. This assistance is a service of the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program which has the primary purpose of reinvesting in Medicaid services with the intention of reducing unnecessary use of hospitalization services by meeting the needs of individuals through appropriate, community-based services.

Service Coordination
BRiDGES is an approved Medicaid Service Coordinator (MSC) through the New York Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). As the MSC, BRiDGES helps individuals obtain eligibility and develop a service plan that meets needs according to the following service areas:

  • Environmental Modifications
  • Financial Management Services
  • Pre-Vocational Services
  • Pathways to Employment
  • Supported Employment

Environmental Modifications
BRiDGES works collaboratively with OPWDD to provide environmental modifications for individuals with disabilities. These physical adaptations increase each individual’s ability to live independently at home. Examples of environmental modifications include, and are not limited to:

  • Ramps
  • Lifts
  • Hand Rails
  • Bathroom Modifications
  • Braille Identifications Systems
  • Vehicle Conversions
  • Strobe Light Smoke Detectors

Financial Management Services
BRiDGES works collaboratively with OPWDD to provide Financial Management Services (FMS) that support individuals with disabilities whose services are funded through an individualized budget. BRiDGES acts as the employer of record for support staff managed by the individual receiving services. FMS allows individuals to be self-directed regarding the care and supports received.

Pathways to Employment
BRiDGES works collaboratively with OPWDD to provide Pathways to Employment. This person-centered employment planning service assists individuals to obtain, maintain, and advance in competitive employment or self-employment.

Pre-Vocational Services
BRiDGES works collaboratively with OPWDD to provide prevocational services in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of each individual.

Supported Employment
BRiDGES works collaboratively with OPWDD to provide Supported Employment (SEMP) services that assist individuals obtain and maintain paid, competitive employment in community businesses.

Parent Advocacy
BRiDGES provides a certified Parent Advocate to guide and support families in the process of seeking appropriate Special Education services that address the individualized needs of children with disabilities in the most appropriate, least restrictive setting. These services encourage and empower parents in their navigation of public education services.

Peer Services
Independent Living philosophy emphasizes the value of informal, peer supports to individuals with disabilities. These interventions afford individuals with opportunities for improved experiences of empathy and understanding through both individual and group peer supports.

BRiDGES implements Peer Services at Nyack Consultation through the Rockland Psychiatric Center (RPC). As a result of these supports, many individuals are able to autonomously address their needs through a meaningful connection with one or more peers, leading to reduced use of higher-cost professional services, including hospitalization.

Skill Building
BRiDGES collaborates with St. Dominic’s Home to provide a variety of Independent Living Services, including: Parent Advocacy, Respite, Intensive-in-Home, and Skill Building for students, ages 6-18 years of age. Each student is referred to the program through the Single Point of Access (SPOA). St. Dominic’s provides a high level of support for each student. BRiDGES teaches skills, provides homework assistance to reinforce skills, and creates recreational opportunities to further enhance each skill.

Transportation Services
BRiDGES works with the Rockland County Department of Transportation to certify individuals with disabilities for Para-transit and reduced fair. In addition, BRiDGES offers Mobility Training services to prepare students and individuals with disabilities to access public transportation.

BRiDGES serves on the TRIPS Board which oversees transportation services in Rockland County for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities.