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The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) has implemented the Open Doors Peer Support initiative as a component of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration, which aims to provide seniors and people with disabilities with peer support during the transition process. The Open Doors Peer Support Program is a group of people who have lived in institutional settings and then moved to home and community based settings, and who have received services and support where they live. Peer Advocates visit nursing homes and developmental centers to share their experiences with residents and support people who want to move to the community.


Open Doors - Peer Program from NYAIL on Vimeo

Peer Advocates will work with you to get control over the choices that impact your life, such as:

  • Whether to move at all;
  • Where to live;
  • When and what to eat;
  • What to wear;
  • To call or visit family and friends;
  • Places to worship;
  • Temperature control;
  • Recreation;
  • Privacy and security of possessions;
  • When to shower and/or take a bath;
  • Uninterrupted sleep when you want;
  • Roommate or the choice to not have a roommate.
All peer advocates complete formal training and are employed by Independent Living Centers.
There are enough peer advocates to provide help in all counties across the state.
Family Peer Advocates are available to work with loved ones of those who are moving.
Veteran Peer Advocates are available to work with service-connected individuals who wish to return to the community.

Training: The power of the peer comes from the breadth of their lived experience. All peers are required to complete a paid eight hour training and satisfactorily pass a post-test to assess competency. Peers will be exposed to training in the following areas:

  • Active listening and communication strategies
  • Boundary setting
  • Motivational interviewing and empowerment strategies
  • Explaining the transition process and incorporating lived experience
  • Discussing community living options and incorporating lived experience
  • Facilitating focus groups
  • Mandated reporting

Peers will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing education to enhance their skillsets. Feedback mechanisms are in place to allow NYAIL to develop topical trainings as needed.

Documents available for download:

Open Doors Peer Advocate Application pdf

Open Doors Peer Advocate Application word

For more information:

Katy Bell
Program Director
MFP Peer Support Program
155 Washington Ave, Suite 208
Albany, New York 12210
Phone: (518) 465-4650 ext. 106
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.