When renovations finish on the Broadway offices of the Chelsea Collaborative later this year, that reconfigured space will also have a lot that is new about it – including a new name.
Chelsea Collaborative will become La Collaborativa when the offices re-open on Broadway, and there will be a new logo and a similar mission to provide human services, said Director Gladys Vega. That will come in concert with the Collaborative’s expanded mission to provide food to Chelsea residents for another three years as the outfall of the pandemic continues and the need for food has only grown as many have lost hospitality jobs, and others have gone back with fewer hours.
However, Vega said it will be important to keep the two operations separate.
“We were using the offices so much as a warehouse, that the floor began to buckle under the weight of pallets and other machinery, and there were holes in the walls,” she said. “It wasn’t meant to be a food warehouse, but that’s what we needed at that moment.”
That said, the operations had to move out of the offices on Broadway – where lines formed hours ahead of time and stretched for blocks as people waited for boxes of simple food. In July, they settled into their current Sixth Street operations for food, and began repairing the Collaborative offices.
Vega said the Carpenter’s Union and Painter’s Union donated their time to re-build the offices, and Home Depot donated the materials. The new look sports a grey color on the walls, and the area where offices once were will become community space with side offices available for privacy and consultations.
In the basement, the workforce will be stationed with an open concept, Vega said, and they’ll be able to be mobile – to work in the office, upstairs in a conference room or out in the field.
It will be from that base where they work on their traditional mission of human services, including immigration issues, housing advice, unemployment assistance, a new workforce development program and temporary projects like the Census 2020 effort.
“The renovation is one of the big things I’m going now, in between our traditional work and the food distribution and COVID-19 relief,” said Vega.