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Peter’s Take: Friends of Guest House Offers Valuable Services

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Peter RousselotAs I have done previously, today I’m profiling a nonprofit that offers valuable services to the Arlington community: Friends of Guest House.


The mission of Guest House is to provide female ex-offenders the structure, supervision, support and assistance they need to become self-sufficient and responsible members of the community. Guest House rebuilds female ex-offenders’ lives by providing them with the physical and emotional tools they need to begin a new life.

Guest House operates and delivers its services without regard to race, creed, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, physical or mental health, sexual orientation, or any characteristic protected by law.


Guest House provides comprehensive re-entry support to female ex-offenders in Northern Virginia, including Arlington. It delivers that support through three core programs: Residential, aftercare and non-residential outreach.

Spanning those three programs, Guest House provides case management; mental health and substance abuse counseling referrals; and directly or through other groups, assistance with issues such as:

  • health care
  • education
  • vocational training
  • employment
  • housing
  • emergency needs
  • child custody
  • referrals to other community services
  • generally, navigating the post-incarceration environment in constructive ways

Guest House works as part of the larger Northern Virginia social services network, referring its clients for special services and receiving client referrals as well. Formal partnerships with several groups have expanded the range of services that clients receive.

Success Rate

Guest House addresses the root causes that lead to the vicious cycle of incarceration. It provides clients with the most effective help so they do not re-offend. Its program focuses on core issues ranging from trauma and addiction to housing and employment. The success of Guest House’s program is demonstrated by these comparative statistics:

  • Without the re-entry support the Guest House program provides, 70 percent of non-violent ex-offenders nationwide re-offend within three years;
  • Among graduates of the Guest House program, only 7 percent re-offend.

How to Help

There are a number of different ways to get involved. These include:

  • Donate money;
  • Honor someone special;
  • Underwrite a specific project;
  • Volunteer
  • Host a benefit or friendraiser or feature a Guest House speaker
  • Fundraise with social media
  • Help clients find jobs and housing

Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

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