Participants in Chelsea’s Hub say the weekly meetings—and many phone calls and texts in between—enable them to keep parolees out of jail, protect children from violence, and get people dealing with drug addiction into treatment. The meetings also exemplify how Chelsea works: All together.
“What makes Chelsea most unique is the level of collaboration that exists among the city and its community-based organizations,” says City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “It’s unmatched. It makes getting things accomplished here so much easier.”
Michael Caine, a recovery coach for North Suffolk Mental Health Services, is one of two community health navigators contracted by the City of Chelsea to connect teens and adults at risk of overdose and other health issues to a range of resources.
The city also contracts with CAPIC, a local social services nonprofit, to provide wrap-around services such as housing, food, and transportation. Clients’ outcomes are tracked, and Ambrosino reviews data quarterly to assess progress and recalibrate resources. The Hub is integral in coordinating these efforts.
Cain estimates he’s gotten 20 cases this year because of the Hub meetings. “I’m honored to work with this team,” says Cain, who is in recovery himself and lost his 24-year-old son to an opioid overdose in 2015. “It’s remarkable.”
The Hub is just one part of Chelsea Thrives, a cross-sector coalition launched in 2014 to reduce crime by 30 percent over 10 years. The Neighborhood Developers leads the coalition and involves two dozen partners, including Chelsea’s schools, its housing authority, and the Chamber of Commerce. The total number of crimes in Chelsea dropped 12.5% from 2014 to 2016, according to police department data.