Meet Lakia Smith – Clinical Director, Huff House
By Sonya Schweitzer
Lakia Smith is not new to the mental health profession. A licensed independent social worker in
DC and Virginia, she has worked in homelessness, psych wards, child and family services, and
more. But her real passion has been addressing substance use disorders. “Substance abuse just means a little bit more for me, being from Washington, DC, grew up in the late eighties or early nineties, we had our crack epidemic,” Lakia reflects, “I watched people’s lives go up in smoke. We forget that there are users to these substances, and the users are human beings.”
So, when looking for her next career move, she had her eyes set on Samaritan Inns. “I’ve always known of Samaritan Inns, and they have always been known in the neighborhoods as the best treatment.” However, an experience she never expected to take on is being the director of a women’s specific program.
With so many programs geared toward men, the Women’s Treatment Program at Huff
House fills a huge need for women seeking treatment services. “We have more resources for
men in this type of arena, per se, because our men are workers. That’s what society says.” As treatment programs expanded to include women, they often neglected the unique challenges women face, and instead just extend the male-oriented treatment programs to co-ed programs.“And the reality is women need treatment too, and they can do treatment, and they can recover.”
Although Lakia never intended on being the director of a women’s treatment program, she’s glad to be at Samaritan Inns and is working on several ways to continue to grow the program, including forming new partnerships and bringing in guest speakers for the women. The women in the program appreciate her guidance and true care for each of them in this journey.
“One thing that everybody gets from Ms. Lakia is that you are valuable, and you are worthy,” she shares, “No matter how horrible life is, how bad things you’ve done or bad things that have been done to you, you are priceless.”
Meet another staff member: Parker Robinson – Intake Clinician
Share on Social
Make a donation to help us sustain our mission and provide help
to those who need it in the Washington, DC area.