When Lee Pearson’s wife threw him out of their house, he only took one thing with him: His Certificate of Honorable Discharge from the US Army. “It’s because it’s the only thing I thought I did well,” he said.
After being discharged from military service, Lee worked for the National Archives as a security officer. But one of his co-workers introduced him to crack cocaine. “Once you go over, there’s no return. And I went over. I partied every night. Even though I had to go to work the next day, I still partied. And, it started to take me down. Late paying bills. Stealing. Whatever it took for me to get it, I was doing. It all goes with the territory.
“And my life started to completely deteriorate. Real fast. To the point where I lost everything: my family, our townhouse, my job with the government.” In the end, Lee lived in a school bus on 5th Street NW. “I was homeless for 4 years.”
One day, high and staying in a crack house, Lee heard that bill collectors were looking for him. And the only way out that he saw was through a window. “I jumped out the window, and broke my wrist. Then I ran. I ran to the White House. That night, I slept on a bench near the White House.” The next day, he was in so much pain. “I told myself, you know what? I’m tired of living like this. Something’s got to change.”
So he walked several miles to a Veterans Administration (VA) hospital. “I think it was God’s grace that I even thought about the VA,” he said.
Lee participated in a 90-day treatment program at the VA Hospital. His counselor told him that 90 days is not enough for a person to reestablish back into society. The counselor recommended Samaritan Inns because of the Treatment and Recovery Continuum of Care.
This is a key feature of Samaritan Inns. Each successive step helps to meet the individual’s needs, while fostering greater independence and responsibility. Lee stayed at the Mozart Inn.
After that, he was introduced to Jesse Washington, our Co-Director of Affordable Housing Communities/SRO, who told him, “Why don’t you go to the next step, and give our SRO a shot?”
The Single Room Occupancy program is the last phase in the Continuum.
So Lee moved to Tabitha House. Gradually, his recovery started to reap long-term benefits. He reestablished a relationship with his daughters and ex-wife. He found a job as a shipping supervisor for a government agency.
Upon reflecting on Lee’s time in the program, Jesse shared, “Samaritan Inns gave Lee the opportunity to clean up the wreckage of his past. In doing this, he was able to become a productive member of society again, and be there to see his daughters grow up.”
In addition to his government job, Lee works at Samaritan Inns as an evening property manager at Elisha House.
“I can’t say enough about how Samaritan Inns saved my life. I love working with the residents. I let them see that they, too, can do this.”
In addition to his Army service, Lee has discovered that this is something else he does well.
“I’m almost 60 years old now. But I still have plenty of years to go. I truly am grateful. God has blessed me. In turn, I try to bless somebody else. It’s that simple. You know, I can’t keep what I got, less I give it away. So I give it away every day. I come to work motivated to give back.”