So much is happening at Peace House Community these days that I don’t know how best to use this space. I want our supporters to know what they are accomplishing through their support, but I also want to discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie in the future. Part of the challenge is that the world continues to change, and PHC is getting carried along with the tide. We do our best to focus on our mission, but we have to do that in the midst of events that are beyond our control.
Some of the accomplishments that we have be able to control include:
- Becoming a resource not only to our community members but also to our neighborhood. We’ve always focused on providing a safe space for marginalized individuals, but we are learning more about how our ministry ensures that our members don’t have to loiter in front of businesses, block sidewalks, and so on. We are learning how to be a resource for everyone, not just our members.
- Holding our first neighborhood clean up day. We sometimes create problems for our neighbors in the form of garbage, abandoned property, and so on. To make things right, community members, volunteers and staff scoured the blocks around PHC to make the neighborhood more liable for our neighbors.
- Staying open on the 4th of July. For many of our members, the days when PHC closes are a trial of boredom and loneliness. We remained open this year on the 4th to ensure that our members knew they were valued.
At the same time, we have to respond to challenges beyond our control:
- Dundry House, a low income apartment building on our block, closed in June because of ongoing problems with crime and vandalism. With our neighborhood already dealing with high crime rates and open drug use, we doubt that having an abandoned building on the block will make our area more peaceful.
- The number of community members we serve continues to rise. I keep thinking that the number of members we host will plateau, but instead they climb, stretching all of our resources. This means that many of our longtime members don’t feel comfortable at PHC anymore. This is perhaps our biggest concern.With so much change in our neighborhood and so many new members flooding in, many of our veterans tell us that “it doesn’t feel like Peace House anymore”. I understand their comments, because sometimes I feel that way too. But, despite the challenges we face (or maybe because of them), PHC will continue to focus on giving our members a place to belong where they feel heard and appreciated.
As I said, PHC is determined to stay true to its mission. We are thankful for all of our supporters who make PHC’s activities possible at all. Thank-you for joining us in serving our community.