A Peace Corps Settlement House for Washington, D.C.  A Proposal From Tom Hebert (Nigeria)

Purpose

If realized, Peace Corps House will be a settlement house, also known as a community or neighborhood center. Thus, the aim of Peace Corps House is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life for residents of a Washington neighborhood where, as the District of Columbia’s Comprehensive Plan states, “poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, crime and other social issues must be addressed because for revitalization to truly succeed, all residents must be given opportunities to advance.” Peace Corps House could help.

In this spirit, the aim of Peace Corps House is to bring about a new kind of community life. Because it is in the community or neighborhood that people seek and fight for solutions to their concrete, daily, local and immediate problems. And so Peace Corps House will provide essential social services with related assistance and space to individuals and groups in efforts to solve community problems or follow opportunities to fruition.

Beyond detailing the work and effectiveness of settlement houses, another purpose of this website is to archive all the detailed research and various contributions to the original January 2016 Concept Paper so that Peace Corps House can actually have a chance to come alive. Of course, this will require active local RPCV involvement at many levels.

Although the leadership of NPCA was initially enthusiastic about the idea, the essential financial and development commitment required for sole sponsorship has put active support on hold, probably long term. Thus we hope that this website will generate a broader discussion within the Peace Corps community resulting in an alternate route to establishing Peace Corps House.

The way forward is clear.

It will require a modest initial investment in a feasibility study and fundraising plan. Because the International Federation of Settlement Houses (IFS) is highly supportive of Peace Corps House, it has agreed to help identify an individual knowledgeable in the organization and operation of settlement houses to carry out this next step at a cost of about $7,500.

In related good news, beyond discussing Peace Corps House at its upcoming September board meeting, the NPCA has just agreed to allow donations for the feasibility study to be sent and held there. And perhaps kick in some funds too?

In any event there could be a Peace Corps House in your own home town. So, dive in, look around, and then let’s hear from you!

Meanwhile, check out: www.peacecorpshouse.org

Tom Hebert
Peace Corps House volunteer coordinator

Tom Hebert

Tom Hebert

Nigeria 1962-1964

An RPCV from Nigeria, Tom worked with several earlier iterations of the NPCA. He began his volunteer work on several projects with the NPCA in September, 2014. This included his push for the NPCA to become a more formal lobbying organization for the Peace Corps and its budget on Capitol Hill and in the federal establishment.

On August 4, 2015, Glenn Blumhorst of the NPCA wrote Tom:

You may not realize it, but you have been the inspiration for a heightened new advocacy strategy that we are now rolling out. Your insight and advice along the way has drawn my attention to this need for upgrading our advocacy. You have been patient with us as we progress slowly but steadily. I’m confident that we will one day have an impressive lobbying effort that would make you proud. Thanks for all you have done for the Peace Corps Community.

Hebert lived in Washington DC, off and on for many years, working as a writer, consultant, and for the State Department on a State-managed Nigerian technical training program. He now lives on a horse ranch on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in eastern Oregon.

 

 

3 Comments

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  • It would be a good place for all RPCVs who return sick and injured and run the risk of ending up homeless because of the inaccessibility of health care for those who have health issues secondary to service.

  • I really like the idea of a “guest house” for returning PCVs who have medical issues either by being medically evacuated or who have difficulty after returning stateside. But, I think the needs of these Volunteers would be quite different from the needs of people that the “settlement house group” is proposing to service. I am not sure if would be fair to either group….

    Ft. Meyer is close to DC. Perhaps, Peace Corps could rent a “guest house” on post that would house such RPCVs and centralized services for them. Perhaps the NPCA could advocate for a plan.

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