Portuguese American Journal

Community: Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers closing – Somerville, MA

The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) is vacating its office of 45 years, after an order by the city of Somerville to leave the 90-92 Union Square building by the end of the month, a press release issued by MAPS has informed.

So far, according to chief executive Paulo Pinto, MAPS has not found an alternative, affordable, and accessible space that meets its needs.

“Our organization started in Somerville, and so we hope to find a new, smaller location, soon, that would allow us to keep our essential presence in the city,” Pinto said.

The nonprofit community organization, which offers health and social services to the large Portuguese community in the city of Somerville, serves as a base for outreach, weekly health clinics, health insurance enrollment, citizenship drives, and community events. Other services include HIV/STI prevention and screening, youth programs, substance abuse prevention, family support and stabilization, in-home therapy, support for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, and the first licensed acupuncture detox clinic in the country.

MAPS is still offering weekly driver alcohol education and intimate partner abuse educational program classes remotely until there’s a new location. Clients are directed to contact Cambridge offices at 1046 Cambridge St., Wellington-Harrington, if they need help, or call (617) 864-7600.

The vibrant community organization, which paid a nominal rent over the past decades, now has been thrust into a market of exploding real estate values.

Pinto called this “A difficult time for MAPS and our community. We have been part of the fabric of the city for five decades and played a critical role in helping build and create the progress that the city is experiencing, but unfortunately, we are now being pushed out,” he said.

MAPS started as two organizations, the Somerville Portuguese-American League, which began serving the Portuguese-American community in the late 1960s; and the Cambridge Organization of Portuguese Americans, founded in 1970. They merged in 1993. MAPS has five active offices, in Cambridge, Brighton, Dorchester, Framingham, and Lowell.

Source: Press Release

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