Job Opening: Housing Specialist

The North Country Center for Independence (NCCI) is seeking a Housing Specialist for a statewide pilot program to provide housing subsidies to individuals transitioning or diverting from institutional settings to the community. The Olmstead Housing Subsidy (OHS) program is a project of the New York Association on Independent Living funded by the NYS Department of Health.
• Identify housing opportunities for individuals who are in need of housing in order to leave a nursing home, as well as for those who have unstable housing after leaving a nursing home.
• Assist eligible Olmstead Housing Subsidy participants through all steps necessary for enrollment, including: filling out housing applications, obtaining household goods and/or support for moving expenses, arranging unit inspections, etc.  
• Work with applicants and/or his/her Transition Specialist, Service Coordinator (SC), Nursing Home Discharge Planner, Care Manager (CM), natural support, or advocate in order to ensure that a support services plan is in place for program enrollment.  
• Conduct follow-up after subsidy is initiated including but not limited to verifying occupancy of unit and continued eligibility for program.
• Work to identify landlords, public housing, and private housing in the region which may be suitable for individuals enrolled in the OHS program in the future.
• Maintain a list of available housing in the region, including degree of accessibility, location, proximity to services, and rental costs.  
• Track and report on all activities using the statewide project database.
• Professional experience in housing, community organizing, Independent Living, long term care, and/or disability rights strongly preferred.
• Knowledge of state and local housing policies, practices, laws and issues impacting seniors and people with disabilities preferred.
• Bachelor’s degree.
• Excellent organizational and computer skills; energetic self-starter; ability to travel in NYC and possibly nearby regions.
• An equivalent combination of education and experience to successfully perform the essential duties of the position may be substituted.
• Personal experience with disability a plus.
Salary: $28,000 per year (full time position) and benefits package available
Robert Poulin at
We conform to all laws, statutes, and regulations concerning equal employment opportunities and affirmative action. We strongly encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans to apply to all of our job openings. We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, genetic information and testing, family and medical leave, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We prohibit retaliation against individuals who bring forth any complaint, orally or in writing, to the employer or the government, or against any individuals who assist or participate in the investigation of any complaint or otherwise oppose discrimination.

In Memoriam: Cindy Bryan

Dear Friends,

It is with great sorrow that I must inform you of the passing of a great woman, a fellow colleague and friend who has meant so much to the North Country Center for Independence and to this community. Cindy Bryan was a tireless worker who was absolutely devoted to NCCI and especially to the consumers that she served. Cindy was a giver and she carried the weight of the economic injustice that she saw daily on her shoulders. Cindy was NCCI’s Medicaid Facilitated Enroller for the aged, blind and disabled but she did so much more. She was an incredibly skilled finance person and acted as a mentor for both the Executive Director and Financial Director of the agency. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do to help her colleagues. She made people’s lives better. Although we are greatly diminished by her loss, I know that she is encouraging us from the next life to keep on fighting and working for the people that we serve. Let us always remember her as a person who was devoted to making the world a better place. Cindy, thank you for your service, thank you for touching our lives, we will miss you, good bye for now.

To Cindy’s family, we send our deepest sympathies. Thank you so much for sharing her with us. She meant the world to this organization and to the people she helped.

Robert Poulin
Executive Director

Bowling Fundraiser Raffle Prizes

Winz N' Pinz with North Country Center for Independence

Raffle Prize Baskets!

Take a look at the beautiful raffle prizes we will be giving out at NCCI's First Annual "Winz N' Pinz" bowling fundraiser. The event will be Saturday, September 29, 2018, from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM at North Bowl Lanes in Plattsburgh, New York.

Click here for the full details and registration information.

Here are photos of the prize baskets, each with a description of what's included:

#1 "Me Time": Basket, Tea Cup and Saucer, Blue Bird Light, 4 Herbal Teas, Candle, Body Lotion, Shower Gel, 'The Secret of Happy Days' Book, Pen, Mini Notebook, Chocolate, Hand Fan, Loofa, Deodorant, Body Powder, and Perfume.

#2 "Home and Garden": Basket, Battery Powered Zen Rock Fountain, 2 Candle Holders, Set of Appetizer Plates, Set of Coasters, 3 Boxes of Seeds- Wildflower Blend, Impatiens, and Shade Mix.

#3 "King Arthur": Cookie Sheet, Parchment Paper, Cook Book, 2 Bags Unbleached Flour, 6 'Essential Goodness' Mixes- Lemon Bar, Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bar, Cinnamon Sugar Puff Muffin, and 2 Chocolate Chip Cookie, Dough Cutter and Vietnamese Cinnamon.

#4 "Back to Basics Game Night": Guess Who, Ker Plunk, Connect 4, and Yahtzee. Basket and Card Games- Memory, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, Go Fish, Slap Jack, Matching, Skip-Bo Jr., and Two Little Hands Card Holders.

#5 "Cozy Crafts": 5 Handmade Journals, Handmade Dream Catcher, 2 Handmade Bracelets, 1 Handmade Necklace, 1 Handmade Throw Quilt, and Tote Bag.

#6 "Good Vibes": Wicker Box, 3 Reiki Energy Candles, 2 Packs Incense Sticks and Holder, 1 Box Incense Cones and Holder, 2 Dripping Candles, Himalayan Salt Candle Holder, Wire Wrap Necklace from KPaige Wraps, and Terrarium.

#7 "Fall Holidays": Basket, Pioneer Woman 3 Mixing Bowl Set, Pioneer Woman Pie Dish, Pie Cutter, 2 Carving Knives, Pineapple Corer, Straws, Dish Towels, Oven Mitt, Table Cloth, Measuring Spoons, Peach-Pecan Whiskey, Holiday Foods, and Gift Cards.

[Photo coming!]

#8 "Camping Excursion": Basket, 100pk Glow Sticks, Roasting Sticks, Graham Crackers, Bag of Marshmallows, Jar of Marshmallow Fluff, Bag of M&Ms, Fire Lighting Squares, 'So Much S'more to Do' Book, 'Camp Daze' Mad Libs, Adirondack Mountain Club Gift Certificate with Lodging and Camping Brochures.

#9 "Co-op Basket": Local Organic and Unique Products from The North Country Co-op.

#10 "Halloween Happiness": Pumpkin Basket, Halloween/Autumn Décor, and Pumpkin Patch/Corn Maze Gift Certificate.

Bowling Fundraiser

Winz N' Pinz with North Country Center for Independence

NCCI’s First Annual Bowling Fundraiser
“Winz n’ Pinz”
When: September 29, 2018 
At: North Bowl Lanes in Plattsburgh, NY
Registration Starts at 11:00 am and the fun starts at

Ticket prices:

$20 for ages 18+
$15 for players under 18 years old
$80 for teams

Do you know what the exciting thing is about this fundraiser? Well…It does not matter if you are young or old. It does not matter if you have a disability, because bowling is fun and everyone can do it! So, grab your kids, in fact grab your whole family and maybe the person you just met outside and join us for raffles, prizes and a fun filled afternoon!

So here is what we’ve got planned for you:

Winz N’ Pinz with North Country Center for Independence - September 29, 2018 11:30am – 3:00pm - North Bowl Lanes - Raffles, giveaways & more! - For more information call 518-563-9058. Visit NCCI at 80 Sharron Avenue, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
First up, we have lane sponsorships: If you have a business and would like to sponsor a lane, the cost is $125 or you can sponsor your own employee or family/friend team for $80. If your sponsored team is the one that wins first place, we will present your business with a framed first place certificate for you to display in your business!

Next up, we have the bowling break down: For individuals and teams, the cost is $20/per person (18 +) and $15/kid (17 & under). This includes two games, the shoe rental, and a ticket for the giveaways. In addition, be one of the first 10 teams or one of the first 40 individuals to register and pay, and you will receive a bonus: a keychain with a bottle opener, bowling ball or a bowling pin pen, a 24-ounce bowling pin water bottle and an extra ticket for the 20-minute giveaway raffle. By bowling with us, you also have a chance at winning any of the prizes listed below: 
If you create a team, the top three teams with the highest two game series will receive:

1st Place:  Each member will receive a $25 gift card to a local restaurant, two movie tickets and 
a Gold medal. Once we have the gift cards, we will upload them to our website and Facebook page.

2nd Place:  Each member will receive a $10 Dunkin Donuts gift card and a Silver medal.

3rd Place:  Each member will receive a $5 Dunkin Donuts gift card and a Bronze medal.

If you want to do your own thing and bowl individually, that’s cool too, because we have prizes for you as well! The top two bowlers, in each category, with the highest two game series will receive:

Ages 10 and under — Bundle of age appropriate games

Ages 11 to 17—  $25 iTunes gift card and a Gold Medal

Ages 18 and up— An Amazon 7”, Kindle Fire and a Gold medal

Lastly, we have the giveaways, gift baskets, and raffles: In order to participate with the gift baskets and 50/50 raffle, you must purchase tickets, and they will be drawn randomly throughout the event. Tickets are on sale right now! Ticket packet prices are as follows: 

1 for $1, 6 for $5, 12 for $10 or 26 for $20.

Click here to see our Raffle Gift Baskets!

Tickets for these raffles can be purchased through any staff member either in our office, and of course, during the event. Tickets will be drawn at 3:00pm and you do not need to be present to win. If either of these methods doesn’t work, give us a call – we can accommodate!

Disclaimer: For any of the baskets that have alcohol in them, only 21+ may place tickets for the basket, and only 21+ take the basket. We will ID for any basket with alcohol.

For our 20-minute giveaway, every bowler that registers and pays will receive a ticket to our special giveaway raffle. Tickets will be available at the event for purchase for bowlers. Ticket pricing will follow the same pricing as listed above. We will draw a ticket every 20 minutes and you will have a chance to win a variety of prizes, such as; a hovering soccer ball, a sweatshirt, local maple syrup, local chocolates, gift cards for local businesses and many other wonderful prizes!

For the 50/50 giveaway, it’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you have questions, shoot us an email or give us a call!

The entire staff of NCCI would like to thank you in advance and we look forward to seeing you all in September!

National Disability Voter Registration Week

Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power! RevUp! Make the Disability Vote Count!

Do you have a disability? Does someone in your family of voting age have a disability? Are you registered to vote? Are they registered to vote?

The deadline to register in New York State for the November 6, 2018 Midterm Election is October 12, 2018.

For more information or to register, call the North Country Center for Independence at 518-563-9058.

Important things to know about voting and people with disabilities:

  • People with any kind of disability can register to vote, as long as they are U.S. citizens of voting age, 18 or older. Cognitive or mental disabilities do not disqualify someone from voting, unless an individual been ruled legally ineligible. Election officials and poll workers alone cannot determine a disabled person’s eligibility to vote.
  • Disabled adults who are under legal guardianship may or may not be eligible to vote, depending on the terms of their guardianship. If you are not sure, you should find out. Guardianship terms can be changed if necessary to specifically allow an otherwise eligible person with disabilities who is under guardianship to vote.
  • Polling places should be physically accessible, and have voting mechanisms that are accessible to blind, visually impaired, and physically impaired people. Some disabled people may, if they choose, request a mail-in absentee ballot, but that does not lessen the obligation for polling sites to be accessible.
  • If transportation is an issue, and you want to vote, it’s best to make arrangements well ahead of election day.
  • You may be asked to provide identification at your polling site. A driver’s license, passport, or non-driver ID will suffice.
  • If you have any difficulty voting, or anyone tries to prevent you from voting, call your Board of Elections: Clinton Co. 518-565-4740, Essex Co. 518-873-3474, Franklin Co. 518-481-1663.
Lisa Schur and Douglas Kruse of Rutgers University have been studying voting participation among people with disabilities over the last few elections. Their most recent report, looking at 2016 voting, included some key findings:

About 16 million Americans with disabilities voted in 2016.

68.3% of voting age people with disabilities were registered to vote in 2016, compared to 70.6% of non-disabled people, a 2.3% registration gap. 82% of registered disabled voters actually voted, compared with 88% of non-disabled registered voters, a 6% gap in voting participation.

Kruse and Schur found that while voting by disabled people increased from 2008 to 2012, the voting rate for people with disabilities actually went down in 2016.

Upcoming Focus Group on ACCES-VR Services

You are invited to a meeting to talk about your experience with ACCES-VR services and how they could be better.

In Plattsburgh:

North Country Center for Independence (NCCI)
80 Sharron Avenue Plattsburgh, NY
Tuesday, June 26 12:00 Noon to 2:00 pm

There will be two other forums in the North Country:

In Massena:

Maximizing Independent Living Choices (MILC)
156 Center Street Massena, NY
Wednesday, June 27 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

In Watertown:

Northern Regional Center for Independent Living (NRCIL)
210 Court Street, Suite 107
Watertown, NY
Thursday, June 28 12:00 Noon to 2:00 pm

Refreshments and light meal will be available.

To let us know you will be attending, call the Potsdam Institute (PIAR) at: 1-888-419-2698 (toll free) or by email at: at least two days before the meeting.

Let us know as soon as possible if an accommodation, such as sign lan- guage interpreter, will be needed.
Seating is limited.

This meeting will be hosted by Dr. J Patrick Turbett and his staff from the Potsdam Institute for Applied Research (PIAR) at SUNY Potsdam, on behalf of the NYS Education Department, ACCES-VR, Adult Career and Continuing Education Services, Vocational Rehabilitation.

Write For The NCCI Blog!

Closeup photo of a grey computer keyboard, with one blue key bearing a white wheelchair symbol on it

Paid opportunity for writers with disabilities in the North Country!

The North Country Center for Independence, (NCC) in Plattsburgh, New York, is looking for original writing by people with disabilities, on disability-related topics, for publication on  the NCCI Blog.

Each month NCCI will post up to two selected pieces written by people with disabilities. NCCI will pay writers $100 for each selected piece. Submissions should meet the following guidelines:
  • 300-600 words long.
  • Must relate in some way to the experiences and issues of living with physical, intellectual, or mental disabilities.
  • We are generally looking for writing focused on the everyday practical, social, and / or emotional experiences of living with disabilities, not on medical research, treatments, or therapies.
Some editorial assistance and feedback will be provided, including comments and suggestions on how drafts can be improved before publication.

NCCI’s Executive Director will choose up to two pieces per month to be published. After each item is posted, the writer may submit a voucher for payment, which will be made within 30 days of receipt.

Submit drafts by email, to: Or, paper drafts may be delivered to NCCI at 80 Sharron Avenue, Plattsburgh, NY 12901. For more information call us at 518-563-9058.

The deadline for final drafts is the 15th of each month.

Spring Accessibility Month

Spring Accessibility Month

This May, 2018 is Spring Accessibility Month at the North Country Center for Independence!

What Is It?

Our goal will be to rate the accessibility of at least 20 local restaurants, and post the results on the NCCI website, alongside restaurant accessibility ratings we have already done. We know we can do it, but we need your help!

Call, email, or stop by for a visit, and we will assign you a list of 5 restaurants in the Plattsburgh area to visit and assess. The focus here is on accessibility for people with disabilities, and we are asking you to rate each place on the following criteria:

_ _ _ _ _ Parking
_ _ _ _ _ Entrance
_ _ _ _ _ Restrooms
_ _ _ _ _ Interior
_ _ _ _ _ Signage

You will give each category a star rating, from 0 (worst) to 5 (best). This will enable people with disabilities and their families to plan where they can visit, and also provide practical feedback to restaurants that could be made more accessible. You can also add brief written notes on aspects of each restaurant that are welcoming to disabled customers or that create specific barriers.

About Accessibility

People with disabilities face literal, physical barriers to independence every day. Restaurants, stores, offices, and other public facilities that aren't properly accessible are failing to provide equal service, and it has a real impact on disabled peoples' ability to live independently and productively in their communities. Additionally, they may be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a federal law that has required equal service and physical accessibility for over 25 years.

On the other hand, places that are accessible help sustain independence and community mobility, and the more of them there are, the more accessible and welcoming our community is to people with disabilities and their families, including visitors.

With your help, we can document businesses that are and are not accessible, and make that information freely available for anyone who wants to know. As more places in our area get rated, the more information we will have for residents and visitors with disabilities.

Getting Started

All you have to do is contact us in one of the following ways:
  • Call us at 518-563-9058 and ask for John Farley, our Accessibility Consultant.
  • Email John at
  • Stop by the NCCI office at 102 Sharron Avenue in Plattsburgh, NY.
We will give you a list of restaurants to visit, and a simple guide to measuring the accessibility of public facilities. It's easy to do, and it's a great service for the North Country disability community.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays! in festive red lettering, with gold colored bells decorated with red ribbons

Happy Holidays, from everyone at the North Country Center for Independence!

The NCCI office will be closed for Christmas on Friday, December 22nd and Monday, December 25th ... and for New Year's on Friday, December 29th and Monday, January 1st.

Note that time sheets for the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program need to be in by December 19th at 12 noon, and January 2nd by 12 noon.

Finally, here is an excellent article with tips on how to make all kinds of holiday parties and events accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities:

‘Tis the Season for Inclusive Holiday Festivities
Rooted In Rights - December 15, 2017

Best wishes!

New Year Resolutions

Long Term Care Ombudsman Forum
January 4th at 5:30 PM
North Country Center for Independence
80 Sharron Ave, Plattsburgh, New York

At this time of year you may find yourself asking, “Where has the year gone?” Thoughts of what will my resolution for the New Year be? Commitments such as this is the year I will lose the extra pounds or exercise may quickly fade as we lose sight of our goal because results are slow to come. Our nature is to seek immediate gratification as it makes us feel good.

So why not make a resolution that will give you gratification each and every time you do it? Why not choose to feed your soul rather than your empty stomach? This year choose to be a volunteer and make a difference in someone’s life. There is nothing more gratifying than putting a smile on someone’s face or helping to resolve a situation or helping them seek answers. Long-term Care Ombudsman do that every day.

New York State Of Opportunity -- Office of the State Long Term Care Ombudsman logoYou may be saying right now Ombud what??? Om-buds-man. This is a person that advocates, educates and empowers residents in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult and family type homes. As an ombudsman you visit a local facility and assist in being the voice for a resident who may not be able to advocate for themselves. Many of our residents no longer have anyone that comes to visit them. As an ombudsman you are able to fill some of this void by listening to resident’s stories and bringing a smile to the face of someone who may feel that no one cares anymore. A certified volunteer ombudsman meets people from all walks of life and has the honor of being a part in a chapter of their lives that enriches it by being a caring advocate.

The ombudsman program covers Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.  We cover 27 facilities in which there are over 1,500 residents. Currently we are at a critical low number of advocates with far more facilities than we have volunteers. This is truly a volunteer commitment. So you may be asking, “How do I get involved?”

Step one is getting more information. If you like what you hear then you shadow a certified ombudsman in a facility to see if this is truly something that will be a good fit for you. If you say yes, and we love when you do, then you take the certification training. Finally you are mentored by an experienced ombudsman until you become certified and get assigned to a facility.

Why not take the first step and at least hear more about this volunteer opportunity? A forum will be held on January 4, 2018 at 5:30 pm at the North Country Center for Independence located at 80 Sharrron Ave (next to the VA clinic) in Plattsburgh. If you find that this is not the commitment you are looking for then we can refer you to one of the many other volunteer opportunities available if you are interested.

As you sit and reflect on the year and ask yourself questions such as, did I make a difference this year?  Was I able to reach out and assist someone in need? Do I want to stand up for resident’s rights and fill my heart with one of the most amazing volunteer opportunities there is? If this is calling to you, then please reach out to get more information on becoming a volunteer ombudsman. If you are unable to attend the forum please contact Amy Gehrig, Ombudsman Coordinator, at 518-562-1732 to set up a time to discuss the program and your potential involvement.

Why not try something new for 2018? Dieter Uchtdorf says it perfectly, “As we lose ourselves in the services of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.” Become a volunteer ombudsman.  Pay it forward and BE the difference. Hey, you may even lose some pounds

Call Amy Gehrig, Long Term Care Ombudsman: 518-562-1732

Happy New Year!