Our History

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1970s        1980s        1990s        2000s        2010 and forward

 

1970
The Worcester Area Drug Coalition is created by concerned citizens to address the substance abuse problem in the city.

 

1976
The Worcester Area Drug Coalition creates the Worcester Area Community Mental Health Center (WACMHC) to plan services and seek support.

 

1978
WACMHC is approved for federal funding by the U.S. Department of Mental Health.

 

1979
Worcester Area Drug Coalition terminates and transfers its fund balance to WACMHC.

 

1980
Gateway Resources is founded.

 

1984
WACMHC receives its first United Way support. The agency creates Elmwood Services.

 

1985
Karchmar House opens.

WACMHC establishes HOAP, the Homeless Outreach and Advocacy Project.

 

1989
WACMHC opens community residences on Ludlow Street and Second Street.

 

1990
Oasis House opens to provide transitional housing for the homeless mentally ill.

 

1991
Thayer Institute is created as an agency program following the closure of Worcester City Hospital and Rutland Heights Hospital.

CHL affiliates with the University of Massachusetts Department of Psychiatry.

The Progressions program, a day treatment service, is established.

Santram House opens.

The Sigourney Street Shelter opens for eight families with substance abuse problems.

 

1992
McGowan House, an independent living complex for 19 adults at 1030 Main Street opens.

A CHL community residence opens on Windsor Street.

Progressions becomes Intensive Community Treatment and moves into the heart of Worcester in the Denholm Building.

Worcester Area Community Mental Health Center becomes Community Healthlink,Inc. reflecting the agency's growth, expansion and continuum of care.

The Board of Directors develops an agency-wide strategic plan.

1993
A residence opens on Massasoit Road for eight people.

The HOAP program expands to include the Shelter Plus Care Program providing housing services for people with physical and mental disabilities.

HOAP is selected by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Community Development to run a Homeless Intercept Program - "HIP" - for families at risk of becoming homeless.

 

1994
Launch of First Capital Campaign to raise $750,000 from Foundations, Corporations and Individuals for Core Facility Renovation Project.

 

1995
Completion of Capital Campaign with $838,000 raised from the local community.

 

1996
Safe Haven program opens. This program was designed to serve homeless individuals with a history of mental illness in accessing/maintaining affordable housing, managing psychiatric symptoms and medications, and preventing substance abuse relapses.

CHL merges with Faith House, a substance abuse treatment facility for women.

 

1997

CHL merges with Worcester Youth Guidance Center, expanding services for children and adolescents.

CHL affiliates with the Lipton Center and expands services to Northern Worcester County area.

 

1998
Affiliation with UMMHC through UMMBHS-UMass Behavioral Health System as part of a regional system.

 

1999    
Merger with Lipton Center complete.

 

2000
HEART (Homeless Emergency Access and Response Team) started to help homeless individuals access permanent housing, divert them from shelters.

Maranda's House, for HIV-positive women, opens as part of the Women's Recovery Continuum.

 

2001   
Transitional Housing program opens in Worcester, providing a transition out of shelter of 20 people.

Mount Vernon Apartments are constructed in Fitchburg, providing permanent supported housing for 4 clients in a 3-apartment building.

A Medical Respite Bed program is developed in conjunction with HOAP’s medical team to provide a safe, comfortable and dignified environment in which adults who have been homeless can recuperate following hospitalization or illness.

 
2002  
Homelink, a program which provides case management to chronically homeless adults, is introduced through Community Healthlink ’s HOAP. Clients receive assistance with finding housing, employment, healthcare and other services that will help them retain housing in the community.

Lipton Academy is licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Education and welcomes students to its Leominster classrooms. The program specializes in helping students with emotional difficulties.

Westwinds, a rehabilitative day program that offers vocational, educational, social, housing and case management services to adults in Fitchburg, Leominster and other North Central Massachusetts communities, celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Together For Kids (TFK) coalition created to address the challenging behaviors of children in child care programs in Worcester County, announces that Community Healthlink will serve as the project’s lead agency and fiscal agent.

 

2003
Patricia Mays House opens as a recovery program for African-American women and their children.

 

2004
The Worcester Youth Guidance Center formally adopts a new name and is now called “Youth and Family Services” to better reflect the services provided each year to more than 3,000 children and teens and their families in Worcester and North Central Massachusetts.

HOAP introduces the Tenancy Preservation Project (TPP) and serves as a Housing Court intermediary to help resolve disputes between tenants and landlords.


2005
Community Healthlink pays tribute to its first center director when it officially names the vocational and social rehabilitation building at 162 Chandler Street the “David L. Higgins, Jr. Center.”

Highland Grace House opens as a residential program for adolescent girls 13-17 years of age who are recovering from addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.

 

2006
A Family Crisis Support Service is introduced in partnership with HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster.

 

2007
Community Healthlink receives funding from the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services to begin an inpatient detoxification and stabilization program for adolescents. This program, Motivating Youth Recovery, (MYR) is located in Worcester.

 

Community Healthlink, Inc. • 72 Jaques Avenue, Worcester, MA 01610-2480 • Phone: 508-860-1000


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