The Worcester Telegram & Gazette on Monday examined the development of a Hispanic substance use rehabilitation center to open in Worcester, Mass. The Hector E. Reyes House — named after a longtime community activist who started numerous Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous groups for Hispanics — will house 25 Hispanic males in need of substance use treatment. The not-for-profit Latin American Health Alliance will operate the center in partnership with the Henry Lee Willis Community Center.
Mattie Castiel, a physician and LAHA executive director, said the group has held two community meetings laying out its plans and expects to begin the program by the end of the year. Castiel will provide medical services at the center.
Worcester City Manager Michael O’Brien said LAHA has notified neighbors of its plans for the rehab center and believes the alliance has followed recommendations from a 2005 task force to develop the center. O’Brien said the city lacks facilities to address substance use and said LAHA made “a compelling case” for establishing Reyes House.
Some city council members discussed concerns about how the organization will pay property taxes, whether neighbors have been fully informed and whether the center will have adequate leadership. State Rep. James McGovern (D) said, “The addition of the Henry Lee Willis Center has brought tremendous professional experience to this much-needed substance abuse program and important community initiative,” adding, “It’s my understanding that many of the neighborhood’s understandable questions and concerns have been addressed through a thoughtful discussion with residents and activists” (Hammel, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 10/13).
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