Shelter Construction Begins on Albany St.

The city of Cambridge and MIT yesterday broke ground on a new building for the Cambridge and Somerville Program for Drug Abuse and Alcoholism Rehabilitation (CASPAR) Emergency Services Center.

Approximately 100 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony, which was held at the 240 Albany St. construction site. Speakers included Cambridge Mayor Kenneth E. Reeves '72, MIT President Charles M. Vest, City Manager Robert W. Healy and City Councillor Jonathan S. Myers.

The center--founded in 1974 and currently housed in a trailer with beds for 55 people--provides shelter, counseling and medical services for homeless persons with substance abuse problems. The new building will replace the trailer, which was originally planned as temporary but has housed the center for 20 years.

The building will serve as a permanent base for the center and offer more space, separate facilities for men and women, a dining area and an overall "greater level of comfort," according to Richard M. Brescia, President of the CASPAR Board of Directors.

The new center is a result of an agreement between the city of Cambridge and MIT. The school will provide the site and pay for the $1.9 mil- lion construction cost, and in return, MITreceives the rights to three city streets on itscampus.

Speakers from both sides praised the results ofthe cooperative effort in yesterday's ceremony.


"[Vest] understood we've had enoughdivision--it was time to have some vision," Reevessaid.

"It was clear to us that the Cambridgecommunity wanted, and what's more needed, CASPAR'sservices," Vest said.

"We hope we have played a major role as being acatalyst in the unification of the city ofCambridge and MIT," Brescia said.

Community's Need to Serve

Speakers also emphasized the community's needto serve the homeless people who will be the"guests of the center."

"May [the future residents of the shelter]know...that we're not leaving anybody behind inthe city of Cambridge," Reeves said. "We're notmoving unless everybody's moving."

And Reverend Willard Williams called the center"the gift that has brought the promise of comfortto those who are in most need of the world'sgoods.