ABCD officials are still not sure if they will rebuild their former Dorchester headquarters - destroyed three weeks ago in an apparent electrical fire - or find a new location. For now, the anti-poverty agency's Dorchester programs are headquartered in makeshift space in a senior housing complex on Beechwood Avenue, off of Geneva Ave.
The Claybourne Street building was destroyed by fire on October 28. Sixteen employees and several programs, including the fuel assistance program, were displaced by the fire. The building, a former American Legion Post purchased by ABCD in the 1970s, is a total loss.
The Dorchester Neighborhood Service Center serves roughly 2,000 people each year, through an after-school program, Head Start and GED classes and elder services. Fuel Assistance, the Multi-Cultural Independent Living Center of Boston and After School Activities have been moved to 22 Beechwood Avenue. The Head Start program and GED classes previously held at 110 Claybourne Street have been relocated to 198 Geneva Avenue in Dorchester. Information for all services can be found at 617-288-2700.
Allison Carter Marlowe, the executive director of the Dorchester NSC, said that "it's worked out surprisingly well given the circumstances."
"As of last Friday, we have all of our phones and copiers up and running and all of our fuel (assistance) clients have found us," Marlowe said.
According to ABCD vice president John Drew, "a group of local people are getting together to start a capitol campaign. We are looking at other properties to see if we can find another building to house the programs permanently. I'm not sure if we can get back to Claybourne Street or not."
Marlowe said she spoke for all of the Dorchester staff when she said, "We cannot wait to be home, wherever that is. Claybourne Street has a lot of history for people. It would be ideal for us to be closer to a bus stop and a train stop."