Wellness centers open at Providence, Pawtucket housing authorities

PROVIDENCE HOUSING AUTHORITY officials and residents celebrate the opening of the Dexter Manor Wellness Resource Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. / COURTESY PROVIDENCE HOUSING AUTHORITY

PROVIDENCE – Housing authority residents in Providence and Pawtucket have access to free substance-abuse prevention and intervention services through a new wellness program launched in late August.

Wellness resource centers have officially opened at Dexter Manor in Providence and Kennedy Manor in Pawtucket.

Funded by a Statewide Opiate Reduction grant distributed by the R.I. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, the centers are open to residents on-site, as well as Section 8 voucher tenants of participating housing authorities.

“With so many families from all walks of life in Rhode Island being affected by the opioid epidemic, the Providence Housing Authority is proud to be working in partnership with R.I. BHDDH and the Pawtucket Housing Authority to bring prevention and intervention services to the residents we serve in our two communities,” said Melissa Sanzaro, executive director of the Providence Housing Authority. “The Wellness Resource Center program is a holistic approach to healthy living that includes prevention education, access to mental health services, addiction treatment information and counseling, case management and activities and outreach that promote healthy living habits.”

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A clinician from Family Service of Rhode Island will be available at both centers, as well as counseling services by referral. Recovery and support groups, case management and referral, health fairs, walking and exercise groups, and meditation and yoga are among the services planned at each site.

“The goal of this program is to help our residents’ well-being. Our center’s slogan is ‘Together, We Can,’ which speaks to the team effort it takes to help guide someone to get help or to participate in a wellness activity,” said Paula McFarland, executive director of the Pawtucket Housing Authority. “If they’re having a problem with substance abuse, mental health issues, stress or anxiety, housing authority staff at both locations are trained to screen and assess their needs and guide self-referrals for intervention, counseling, prevention and treatment.”

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