New drug treatment program plans to move into Uphams Corner

An empty building at 35 Bird St. in Uphams Corner may have a new tenant soon, one that aims to promote sobriety in the neighborhood.

Human Resources Development Institute, a large company that specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment, is applying for a zoning variance to turn the property into an outpatient drug treatment center and a residential treatment center for women. The hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4.

"We have a 37 year history of providing these services in communities of color across the country," said Leah Randolph, the HRDI program manager for Massachusetts. HRDI has operations in Chicago, Mississippi, Alabama and other states. "We provide substance abuse services for people that are from the community. We don't import people from anywhere."

The center would not distribute any chemical treatments, such as methadone, but instead would serve post-detoxification clients, provide them with psychological and psychosocial treatments and help them make connections to basic services like housing and jobs.

The building at 35 Bird has been closed since Catholic Charities of Boston moved its programs over to the Yawkey Center on Columbia Road two years ago.

Randolph said on Monday that HRDI had not notified the abutters of the Dec. 4 hearing, but plan to reach out to them soon.

Robert Haas of the Uphams Corner West Side Neighborhood Association said his group was aware of the plan but haven't yet had time to have a full position on it.