Our program is named after Dennis McLaughlin, a Charlestown community leader who was well known for his devotion to improving the quality of life for people. Surrounded by those struggling with substance abuse, he wanted to provide safe, encouraging transitional housing for women who had made the commitment to recovery in order for them to reshape and rebuild their lives, their families, and their relationships. The untimely death of Dennis in 1992 made it impossible for him to fulfill his vision personally. However, through the gracious commitment of the former Armed Services YMCA, and the continuing commitment of the McLaughlin House Board of Directors, Dennis’ vision came to life on October 24, 1994, as the Dennis McLaughlin House of Charlestown, Inc.The mission of the McLaughlin House is to assist homeless, low and moderate income Greater Boston women in the process of recovering from substance abuse to maintain their recovery and stabilize and rebuild their lives and their families; to acquire the education and/or job training to gain marketable skills and become financially self-sufficient; learn new life skills and build new and healthy social networks, and make use of the community’s resources to support their transition into independent, substance-free living in permanent housing.


The women and children served through the McLaughlin House are both disadvantaged and under-served. Through the chaos and destruction of chronic substance abuse these families have been ostracized and excluded from full participation in our society. The McLaughlin House assists these families in the prevention of continued chronic substance abuse and other drug/alcohol-related issues, such as poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, and drug/alcohol-related criminal activity.

The children of addicted parents have all too often lived in households filled with fear, violence, confusion, neglect, despair, and poverty. Through learned behaviors, they also run the risk of becoming addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Parents may lose custody of their children to the Department of Children and Families (formally known as DSS- Department of Social Services) through the trauma of addiction or upon entering substance abuse treatment programs. It is imperative to the well being of these children that reunification is done in a safe, stable, structured, supportive and healthy environment. Through collaboration with community based agencies that provide extensive family counseling, positive parenting skills, family mediation, early intervention, family recovery, and family reunification services to these clients, the McLaughlin House is able to help end the cycles of substance abuse, hopelessness, and poverty that would otherwise, almost certainly, be carried on to the next generation of children.

Through the Department of Neighborhood Development and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, private foundations and individual donors we are able to sustain funding. The YMCA of Greater Boston/Constitution Inn and other community-based organizations provide critical support that enables the program to provide transitional housing and link to services within the community.

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