State officials from Massachusetts gathered to celebrate the opening of a consolidated Health and Human Services center in North Adams. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…
An open house was held in downtown North Adams to mark the completion of the state’s fifth consolidated HHS Center – which combines several agencies under the umbrella of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services under one roof.
Vince Laberinto , Construction Project Manager of the recently renovated project, led tours of the new space. He listed the agencies now working in the same location...
In addition to office space, the facility also has newly renovated private interview rooms for clients.
Deborah Coleman is the facilities director for the EOHHS. She said the idea is to have “no wrong door” for clients, and to help facilitate better communication between agencies.
Coleman said the goal is to open similar centers across the Commonwealth.
Members of the general public, local officials and stakeholders attended the open house. Chip Joffee-Halpern is the executive director of Ecu-Healthcare, an outreach and enrollment organization that helps the underserved obtain public health insurance in Northern Berkshire. He had high praise for the new HHS center.
North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright said that he was glad to see state offices stay in North Adams, after a proposal in 2010 that would have moved the entire Department of Transitional Assistance office to Pittsfield. The DTA serves 2,000 area consumers.
Massachusetts Commissioner of Children and Families Angelo McClain agreed that North Adams is an appropriate place for the offices.