PAWTUCKET — Community Resources for Justice on March 9 hosted a packed crowd of judges, probation officials and neighbors for the formal dedication of the Neil J. Houston Jr. House, a residential reentry center supporting men and women transitioning out of incarceration.

After a ribbon-cutting at the front door of the converted St. Jean’s Convent at 67 Slater St., attendees took tours of the center, which opened on March 6 and had nine residents as of the dedication ceremony. The 25-bed center can house up to 21 men and four women.

The opening of Houston House followed more than two years of work to secure the site and a contract with the federal Bureau of Prisons. Residents of the Woodlawn neighborhood and city officials were early supporters of the project.

“They were willing to listen,” CRJ President and CEO John Larivee said.

The center is named for Houston, a Rhode Island native and the head of one of the organizations that would later merge to become CRJ. A leader in reentry efforts, Houston died in 1987. His brother Jon Houston noted that their family has deep roots in Pawtucket and that naming the reentry center in his memory was a fitting tribute.

“It’s as though our family has come back to where we belong,” he said.

To read more about Houston House, click here.

To read coverage of the dedication in the Providence Journal, click here.