Lazarus House Turns 25
By Justin Feltman
Today marks 25 years since Lazarus House, our first Affordable Housing Communities Program building, opened its doors for the first time. 25 years later, it stands as a beacon of hope for all who are continuing to build on their long-term sobriety and growth. To commemorate this milestone, we wanted to share with you what Lazarus House has meant to our staff, alumni, and community members over the years.
“When I came to Samaritan Inns, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought it was a trick because this house was so clean and beautiful that I knew addicts didn’t live here. They did; and that’s when something come over me. It was a warm feeling and I started to cry. I knew I had finally come home.”
–Reginald High, Alumnus & Director of Properties
“I moved into Transitional Living in July of 1997 on Harvard Street and I moved to Tabitha’s House in January of 1998. I found my tracking sheet the other day. I was in SRO for less than a year. My addictions counselor was the best in the business, Beth Smith. She told me to have a plan and my plan was to be in SRO for one year and then to move on to my own place, which actually happened.
A lot has happened in the past 19 years. I’m in my 13th year as an addictions counselor here, but was a substitute innkeeper and a monitor before that. I’m not bragging when I say this, but I believe I am the only person that has been a director of all three phases of the program. That’s the grace of God.”
–Lynette Daniels, Director of Transitional Living Program and Affordable Housing Communities Program
“It helped me find myself all over again. And today, I love myself. I think highly of myself, and I’m just doing well. My kids, I’m a mother again, I’m the mother I know that I was supposed to have been. Even though me and my son talk, I first asked him for his forgiveness and my daughter thank God, she doesn’t remember. I’m involved in their schools, doing what I have to do, job doing ok. It’s who I am now, moving forward.”
–Reina, Samaritan Inns Alumni
“Lazarus House represents a longer term opportunity to solidify your recovery, to build on relationships that are healthy and good for you, relationships that you begin to establish in the time you’ve been in the Inns. It’s an opportunity to develop your work habits and to improve to be advanced in your employment so that you have the opportunity and possibility to afford alternative housing that can be permanent housing for you.”
–David Erickson, Co-Founder of Samaritan Inns
“25 years ago today we celebrated the opening of Lazarus House. Wow!!! The time has gone by fast. Pope Francis talks about how the church, if it is true to its mission, will be lived out like field hospitals for those who are wounded and suffering.
Samaritan Inns has been a field hospital welcoming the wounded and suffering. Lazarus House, the next phase in the recovery continuum, has been the soil in which women and men planted themselves and then blossomed into their truest selves. Countless women and men over the past 25 years have returned to life and have become contributors to the larger DC community as parents, grandparents, employees, leaders and instruments of healing in the lives of those coming along behind them.
I celebrate all Lazarus House residents , staff, volunteers and donors who contributed over the past 25 years to creating and nurturing this nutritious soil in which so many have blossomed and fulfilled their God-given potential. What a privilege to have been a part of such a community.”
-Killian Noe, Co-Founder of Samaritan Inns
“Lazarus House experience exemplifies the great potential that exists within our community and, indeed, within our nation. It shows how we can achieve this magnificent structure. A structure that now means that, for some 80 families who would otherwise be homeless, they now have a home. We truly must build upon this experience because it is so urgently needed in our community.”
-Sharon Pratt Kelly, Former Mayor of The District of Columbia
“Everyone who visits Lazarus House comes away from this place with a renewed optimism that there are solutions to homelessness that work. Solutions that work for the community and the individual. Lazarus House stands as a challenge to us all. We can do this.”
-Barbara Bush, Former First Lady of The United States
“The real visionaries here are the people who invested in Lazarus House. The visionaries here are not the ones who look at this in terms of its
brick and mortar and the fact that it’ll add to the tax base of DC. The visionaries, today, are the ones that see the change in lives, the change in the community. I want to suggest, this is the beginning of a great building effort for our city, our country, and hopefully it’ll help inspire the whole world.”
-Jack Kemp, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
“Lazarus was a landmark project in the evolution of an initiative to not only transform the lives of people, but transform this community. Thousands have come through the doors of Lazarus over its 25 year history. It was aptly named “Lazarus” as Lazarus was brought back from the dead by Jesus to have new life.”
-Larry Huff, Current CEO and President of Samaritan Inns
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