How a storefront on the Lower Eastside helped give millions of New Yorkers a second chance.

Summer of 1959

A crisis had descended on the communities of the Lower East Side. Residents were dying at an alarming rate from a growing heroin use epidemic. Edward Brown, a neighborhood minister, decided something had to be done. Although he didn’t have a social work background or any formal substance use disorder training, he helped the churches and settlement houses of the Lower East Side band together to form the Lower Eastside Information and Service Center for Narcotic Addiction, Inc. What began as a storefront serving addicts and their families is today known as the Lower Eastside Service Center.  


  • 1960 First outpatient detoxification clinic using Dolophine (Methadone)
  • 1961 Grand Opening of 46 East Broadway for outpatient services
  • 1964 The first "At Risk Youth" drug prevention program, and first Chinese drug use program
    1967 One of the first licensed mental health clinic substance use disorders programs. First school of social work field training site in substance use disorders
    1969 The first outpatient non-hospital Methadone Maintenance Treatment program
Entrance of Su Casa


  • 1974 LESC launches Su Casa, first Methadone-to-abstinence residential therapeutic community (the Long Stay Abstinence Program)
1981 "Model" DSAS Methadone Treatment program - A methodological overhaul of the traditional methadone clinic, shifting recovery responsibility from staff to clients
  • 1982 Chinese Socialization program (currently the Chinese Continuing Day Treatment Program). Also, first residential Methadone Maintenance Treatment program in the US (the Short Stay Maintenance Program at Su Casa serving 40 residents)
    1983 Women and Children's Program, Crack Cocaine Program
    1989 AIDS Prevention Project, Family Reunification Program - Prevention of foster placement of high risk preschool children


  • 1990 Vietnam Veterans Family Services Center (VVFSC) focuses on effects of PTSD on the families of veterans
  • 1992 HIV Counseling, Testing, Referral, Partner Notification Program (CTRPN), HIV Primary Care Program, Directly Observed Preventive Therapy for people with TB and substance use disorder
  • 1995 Primary Care Initiative in conjunction with Beth Israel Medical Center, Nutrition Training program for People with AIDS 1996—Veteran's Family Services Center serves combat veterans and their families
    1997 WorkFirst Initiative integrates welfare reform into substance use treatment, Angel Street Thrift Shop fundraising and vocational initiative
    1998Millennium The WorkFirst initiative combined with an 18-month Long Stay Abstinence Program, Enhanced Outpatient Evening Program treatment for working and parenting individuals
    Pencer house
    Pencer House


    • 2000 First graduation from The Partnership Program
2001 Grand Opening of Pencer House supportive housing for people living with AIDS
  • 2001 Grand Opening of Pencer House supportive housing for people living with AIDS, Substance Use Assessment & Referral Program at the Children's Aid Society, Manhattan Family Treatment Court Family Preservation Collaboration outreach for mentally ill undocumented aliens with Bellevue Hospital, Department of Labor Welfare To Work Program for difficult to place individuals, Family Therapy Program to enhance residential services, Su Casa facility renovation
  • 2002 Pregnant Women and Infants Program launched
    2006 Construction begins on Diversity Works special needs family housing with Phase Piggy-Back /Bronx
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