Community Support Services re-opened the doors to their drop-in center Saturday.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 13 gas disasters, the space, located on the first floor of Old Town Hall, became mainly used for workers responding to the crisis and its recovery.

Now, with the help of town officials, the space has returned to a center that strives to aid and improve the lives of people in a comfortable, confidential setting.

"There's never any assumptions of why you'd walk into this building," said Community Support Coordinator Sobhan Namvar, adding that people can easily take the bus or walk to the center located in the heart of downtown for a number of different reasons.

Namvar, who has held the position for three years, said the center offers confidential help in a number of ways, and is often times looked at as a bridge to deeper services. They strive to connect individuals and families to the appropriate level of care needed.

Services include mental health and substance abuse services, as well as family services, support groups and one-on-one therapy. A main part of their mission is to also offer education, awareness and preventative opportunities.

"We strive on collaborating with young kids and families," said Namvar. "I think just really by being able to be connected to them, we can truly be a community of healing and support."

The re-opening Saturday brought in a number of different resources on varying levels. Namvar said they included family services, substance use treatment, mental health treatment, and resources from Lawrence General Hospital that focus on mothers who need addiction services prior to giving birth.

Elevated Thought, a non-profit in Lawrence that uses art to generate awareness and investment in social issues, created a piece that was on display outside of Old Town Hall.

"We got to have a lot of good people who do great work there and present," said Namvar. "We definitely feel the support in the community."

The event, which was held outside of the building, allowed Namvar and others to talk to people enjoying a day downtown about the services they hopefully will never need, but have readily available to them if they do.

Namvar said he hopes to have solid hours in September. The drop-in center currently has tentative hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"My office a lot of times is my car, just because we try to meet people where they're at," he said. "Sometimes that happens to be the drop-in center, sometimes that happens to be the hospital, or a living room couch. To have a therapeutic space that's confidential and kind of in the center of town is really great and removes some of the initial barriers that were in place."


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