Long-Awaited Service Center Opens on Northeast Side

People on the near northeast side of town turned out in droves for the opening of the Northeast Multi-Service Center. The facility was promised to them more than a decade ago and was finally built this spring. Laurie Johnson has more.
A small parade led by the drumline from Shadydale Elementary led people to the doors of the Northeast Multi-Service Center.

Houston Department of Health and Human Services Director Stephen Williams says they broke ground on the site in 2006.

"I think that what you have with this administration is a fulfillment of a promise that was made a long time ago. And we've done that in several communities here where we've actually brought up multi-service centers that people have been waiting on for more than a decade."

The service center is in a park that already draws families and visitors. It has rooms for meetings, a demo kitchen for cooking classes, a computer lab and an assembly hall and stage.

Michael Robertson with Health and Human Services says they wanted to create a gathering place for the community.

"Well, we try to use the multi-service center as the focal point for all the Health and Human Services activities within this community. So we want the various things to emanate from here. We want to be the core to provide health promotion, health education to the community, wellness programs, programs for seniors, programs for youth, programs for mothers."

The center already has 3,800 people enrolled in WIC. They're opened a Head Start program and plan to begin classes and programs for seniors.

"So those types of things weren't available—at least there wasn't a facility in the community to do that with. So we're here now on the park ground and we'll be working with Parks and Recreation too as an extension of wellness to combine exercise programs with the human services and nutrition things that we do. So this is a real key part of this whole community effort."

The city runs 10 multi-service centers in different parts of town and an eleventh is under construction in south Houston.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...