Regis House History
Father Francisco Perez-Lerena, Founder and Chairman of Regis House, Inc., and a teacher at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School founded Regis House, Inc. in 1984.
While working as a parish priest at “Gesu” Church in Downtown Miami, Father Perez-Lerena met a young man who asked him for help. His name was Kelvin and he was addicted to cocaine and heroine. Father Perez-Lerena took Kelvin to several institutions throughout the Miami area but was met with only waiting lists and rejections. Unable to find help in Miami, Kelvin returned to his hometown of Washington D.C. to be with his family.
This chance encounter encouraged Father Perez-Lerena to mobilize friends and community members in order to address the problem of juvenile drug abuse. In May of 1984, Father Perez-Lerena officially began the nonprofit organization REGIS HOUSE, INC.
A year after starting Regis House, Inc., Fr. Francisco P. Lerena received a letter from Kelvin’s mother notifying that Kelvin had passed away.
“I thank you, and thank God for you.” The week of Kelvin’s death he told us how much he loved you and how you helped him,” said Kelvin’s mother. Instead of being discouraged, this moment further clarified the importance of the agency’s mission. Father Lerena has pressed on ever since that day to see that Regis House, Inc. makes a significant difference in the community.
For 28 Years, Regis House, Inc. has provided support free of charge to over 70,000 residents of Miami-Dade County to improve lives through Family Support, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse services. We are able to continue our mission through the support of generous donors, grants and special events.