In 1968, Dr. Joseph Brenner, a psychiatrist at M.I.T., founded the Cambridgeport Medical Clinic to provide free medical care to people unable to use existing medical services. In June 1970, recognizing the unmet challenges of those utilizing the medical center, Dr. Brenner and his colleagues launched the Cambridgeport Problem Center. Teams made up of volunteer legal and mental health professionals and lay people helped their clients find ways to solve problems and make better life choices.
The medical services were suspended in 1973 and the Cambridgeport Problem Center eventually grew into Community Legal Services and Counseling Center, CLSACC, following the clinic's model of using volunteer professionals to provide services to the community's most vulnerable residents. The Center moved to its present location in Central Square, Cambridge, in the late 1970's.
By the early 1980's, the Center's work focused on short and long-term psychological counseling and legal help with family law, benefits, and housing issues. In 1981, it added a Mediation Program (which moved out on its own in 1990) and in 1984 expanded its legal program to include immigration law and disability benefit work. In 2005, the Center added a Psychological Evaluation Project for immigrant victims of persecution, torture, and abuse.
Today, CLSACC is the only volunteer-based agency of its kind in the area, combining legal assistance and mental health counseling.
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