Lapas attēli

other agency someplace. If that were to happen, would there be enough left, in your opinion, to justify retaining ACTION as an independent agency? In other words, can your domestic program stand on its own?

Mr. BROWN. Yes. Let me start with the Peace Corps side and then come back to the domestic side. On the Peace Corps side, as you know, there is ongoing discussion about what is known as the Humphrey bill, which would provide for the unified development assistance agency. The administration has been looking at that in a positive light and expects to respond to Congress by March 15. We are participating in those discussions. In principle we support the bill and will work, in the case of Peace Corps, to insure that if Peace Corps goes there it has the kind of support mechanism around it to retain enough independence and autonomy to insure Peace Corps success in that agency.

This brings us back to the domestic side. I must say very candidly what my friends say: You are looking at 40 percent of the budget. If that goes across town, are you going to be happy with what is left?

My answer to that is, yes, very much so.

I have been openly supportive of the process of looking toward a unified international development agency because I think on the domestic side we have a similar opportunity. The new initiatives we are beginning include: a national youth service demonstration project, utilizing some of our former volunteers with a greater degree of development work, our involvement in the urban policy, and the potential we have in criminal justice. All of these provide the basis not only for an agency but for in many ways the most interesting and exciting agency in town.


Mr. FLOOD. You are proposing a large increase of almost $12 million for the VISTA program. Tell us what your plans are for that program and also tell us, what do you think has been wrong with VISTA in the past?

Mr. BROWN. May I start with the second question first?
Mr. FLOOD. Yes.

Mr. BROWN. Without doing a 12-year history of VISTA, I think in the past years the problem has been that at times the program been used as a substitute for other kinds of labor in communities. Among the most notorious example was the use of VISTA volunteers as librarians. I do not believe that was the intention of Congress. I do not think VISTA volunteers be used in lieu of other labor in communities. They should be used in the way Congress intended, for the people in those communities to develop their own agenda and their own resources.

The VISTA budget would provide an increase of 26 percent in the overall level of service provided next year. This request includes more locally recruited volunteers responsive to and working with local community groups. One of the problems, you know, was the complaint that VIŠTA was a bunch of outsiders coming in to tell people what they ought to do. We have been moving very quickly to more locally recruited volunteers so people in the community have a chance to work in their own communities, not to come in from outside but to work where they live, with a mix of people coming from outside. We think that is a healthy kind of environment, to have people also coming in who are not already wedded to what is going on.

What we anticipate in our budget is basically an increase in numbers and in quality. We believe that frequently VISTA volunteers have not had adequate training and that some of the problems VISTA has had in the past resulted from inadequate training.

NATIONAL GRANTS Mr. FLOOD. You use the term "national grants”. What do you mean by that in the VISTA program?

Mr. BROWN. What we have tried to do with the national grants is to identify a number of national organizations that have locally affiliated groups active in various communities. For instance, ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform in the South, which operates in 11 southern states.

Mr. Flood. I was going to say, what organizations have received these grants so far? Put those two things together.

Mr. BROWN. The National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs, that is located here; the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, which is a federation of primarily small farmers in the South who put together cooperatives for sale of their own products.

Do you have a complete list?
Mr. BROWN. We can put a complete list in the record.
Mr. FLOOD. Do that.
[The information referred to follows:)
The following organizations have received national grants to date:
1. Community Organization Research Action Project.
2. Federation of Southern Cooperatives.
3. Midwest Academy.
4. National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs.
5. Pubic Interest Research Group.
6. National Training and Information Center.


Mr. FLOOD. On page 23 you have a breakdown of the VISTA volunteers in several basic human need areas. One of them is health and nutrition. What kind of things would these volunteers be doing? What kind of sponsoring organizations will they be work

ing for?

Mr. BROWN. Mr. Chairman, if I may, I would like to discuss the general nature of what they are doing. Margery Tabankin, the VISTA director is prepared to talk about the direct sponsoring organizations. Many of these volunteers are assigned to community action agencies or programs of various sorts.

In general, they are working with low-income communities around nutrition planning. A number of people may have enough income to provide adequate food for themselves, but because of lack of nutrition education do not buy the right foods. We all know the problems. We read about them in the newspaper all the time, about how people buy candy-coated cereals and eat too much starch rather than a balanced diet. Nutrition education volunteers can

work with the community to help low-income people deal with their nutrition problems.

Family counseling services involve volunteers not actually doing the counseling, but to looking people up with the services that are already available to insure the families can stay together. For example, the volunteers could refer them to agencies dealing with drug abuse, alcohol abuse, the and other problems which frequently are at the core of family breakups.

So the volunteers will work with a wide range of agencies in neighborhood-based health outreach programs.

VISTA TRAINING Mr. FLOOD. You have an increase of $2.3 million in VISTA for what you call training and technical assistance.

Mr. BROWN. Yes, sir.

Mr. FLOOD. Will you expand on that? What I mean is, who is going to be doing the training? What kind of training are you talking about?

Mr. BROWN. In terms of who is going to be doing the training, one of the great concerns we have is there has not been any consistent training for VISTA volunteers. There has been no common element to the training. As a consequence, for the first time in recent years we are putting together a national training office, and much of that training will be provided in-house directly to the volunteers by the agency. Some of it will be done under contracts from the agency, that is, that we would contract with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives to train VISTA's who will be working with co-ops in other parts of the country. Another concern we have had is the ability of VISTAs to generate additional nonfederal resources in the community for the projects with which they work. The grantsmanship center in Los Angeles has been very successful in training people in this regard, and it is one of the kinds of training we think VISTAs should have, so that local groups do not keep coming back to the government for more but learn how to generate additional local resources.

With a solid background of fundraising training, our VISTAS working with low-income groups can show these groups how to raise more money for their own projects and how to generate additional non-federal resources.

Mr. FLOOD. Do this for the record. Give us a detailed breakdown of that $4,030,000 request for training and technical assistance.

Mr. BROWN. Yes, sir.
The information referred to follows:

The $4,030,000 VISTA request for training and technical assistance consists of the following items:

1. 40 hours of preservice training, including travel to the training site, for 6,140 trainees, at an average cost of $192 each

.$1,179,000 2. 80 hours of in-service training for an average of 4,500 volunteers,

including career development training for eligible low-income volunteers, at $420 each......

1,889,000 3. Training of VISTA supervisors at 779 projects, at an average cost of $520 per project.....

404,000 4. Settling-in allowances for 6,000 volunteers entering service, at an average allowance of approximately $80..

478,000 5. Technical assistance to volunteers and sponsors (e.g. development and printing of manuals and other publications)

80,000 Total



Mr. FLOOD. You want $1 million for VISTA for what you call "community development” volunteers. What do you mean by "community development?

Mr. BROWN. Community development, consists of a broader question than simply a resource program. It consists of developing in the community the capacity for the community itself to deal with the problem. It may mean a volunteer working with a local community group to develop a neighborhood center, to develop a senior citizens center, to develop some other kind of resource locally. You cannot call them health volunteers, or drug abuse volunteers. They are really working on development within the community.

Community development will take different forms in different places. In a number of small southern communities what it will mean essentially is a VISTA volunteer working as a planner in a situation where there was no prior capacity for the community to do planning work. As a consequence, a lot of small towns have been cut out of federal programs because they lacked anybody there who knows how to plan in accordance with federal require ments. VISTA volunteers can help in a number of smaller communities to do that kind of work.


Mr. FLOOD. How much will it cost in fiscal 1980 to annualize these VISTA increases?

Mr. BROWN. We will be starting the development of the fiscal year 1980 budget this spring. The continuation of the fiscal year 1979 program ought not to require a substantial increase beyond the costs of the program proposed in fiscal 1979.

Mr. FLOOD. Mr. Michel.


Mr. MICHEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

In your February 9 press release announcing your new regional directors, you take pride in stating that they are civil rights activists and a union organizer, among others.

The release goes on to state that this administration is committed to organizing people to meet their own social and economic needs, and that the new regional directors have an understanding of what activists can do to bring about social changes.

Is this how you view the role of ACTION, as an agency that seeks to organize people to promote social and political change rather than one which calls on the volunteer spirit of Americans to assist their fellow citizens on an individual basis?

Mr. BROWN. Mr. Congressman, it seems to me those are not so distinct as the question would seem to imply. That is, at most times in our history what volunteers have done when they get together is organize themselves and others and work in their community. That consists of everything from putting up a barn 150 years ago to people putting together a community center today.

Mr. MICHEL. I know what my wife and I have done on a volunteer basis in our local community, but that does not necessarily mean we were out to change the whole structure in the local community by that effort. What we were attempting to do was to plant the seed so that many things that can be done voluntarily without Federal Government, sometimes without federal money just rallying the people together. I have real reservations when I read some of these things about all this movement to change the social structure in a given community. I am not sure that is supposed to be your role.

Mr. BROWN. Mr. Congressman, if the concern is one about rhetoric, I think it may be a well-expressed one. I think it is a legitimate concern.


Mr. MICHEL. In your justifications for VISTA you specifically state that VISTA has deemphasized programming volunteers in situations where they provide direct services to clients such as teaching, day care, referral and legal casework. Then you go on to state that although there will still be occasions when public agencies are chosen as VISTA sponsors, VISTA intends to favor small, private grass-roots organizations and proposals using volunteers as facilitators, organizers or advocates over assignment of volunteers for direct services to clients.

This indicates to me that VISTA is moving away from its program of fairly close working relationship with local government into one of advocacy and possible confrontation with these governments; in other words, a return to the confrontation policy of the 1960's rather than the cooperative policies in the 1970's.

Mr. BROWN. Mr. Congressman, I think the expressed concern of Congress over a period of years has been that VISTA volunteers have frequently been used as substitutes for regular employees of local government and other kinds of local agencies.

Mr. MICHEL. We have public service jobs for that these days.

Mr. BROWN. We have taken very seriously the concern of Congress that we not_use VISTA volunteers to substitute for other public employees. That means they ought not to be doing work in centers substituting for what would otherwise be a paid employee. The intent of the Congress, as I understand it, is that they should be doing the work which would, for instance, in the case of daycare centers, not be to work every day in the day-care center but to work with the community group to organize the day-care center.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »