North Hempstead, NY— As Project Independence garners attention as a national model and is fast becoming a household name locally, Supervisor Jon Kaiman and the North Hempstead Town Board announce that in an evaluation of Help at Home program conducted by 80 residents who have used the service, most all gave the quality of the service high marks.
Beginning in January, the Help at Home program will be expanded into the Westbury area, and then to the Roslyn area, Manhasset and the Great Necks. The program previously ran as a pilot in New Hyde Park and Port Washington.
“The need for this program, which has been so heavily utilized and enthusiastically reviewed by residents who used it during the pilot phase, has been clearly established,” Supervisor Kaiman said. “So that none of our senior residents are left out, we plan to make it available town-wide by the middle of next year.”
The Help at Home program is made possible through a partnership between Project Independence, the Town’s ground-breaking “aging in place” initiative, and The Rehabilitation Institute (TRI) of Westbury, an affiliate agency of FREE (Family Residences and Essential Enterprises). FREE and TRI are local not-for-profit agencies.
TRI trains adults with developmental, emotional and mental disabilities to prepare them for jobs in the community. As part of their training, the students do minor home repairs, yard work, moving heavy objects, gutter cleaning and more for Project Independence members who can no longer handle the tasks themselves. A team of 2-3 trainees visit the home always in the company of a supervisor.
“The work was excellent,” said one senior who had a small repair project done. “The men were polite and interested; clean-up was great.”
“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” said another who had her outdoor furniture cleaned by the workers.
“The service is wonderful for widows like me,” said a third for whom the trainees cleaned gutters. Other residents used words like “needed,” “efficient,” “wonderful,” “kind,” and “understanding.”
“Our trainees really enjoy this program,” said Andrew Cohen, Administrator of TRI. “They get tremendous satisfaction out of helping the seniors, and a few have leveraged the experience to find jobs in the community.”
The most requested services were small repair jobs and gutter cleaning. Many seniors needed general cleaning, garbage removal and window cleaning (main level only). Ninety six percent of respondents said they would recommend the service. One hundred percent said the quality of supervision was very good to excellent.
The service, which is scheduled via the Town’s 311 consumer response telephone line, is now available in Mineola, as well as the pilot areas.