More than Residents: Family

A Lamont Homes “5 in 5” featuring Eric Johnson

Lamont Homes is dedicated to providing group homes to Washington D.C.’s most vulnerable residents. We pride ourselves on building strong, supportive communities. What follows is a five minute, 5 question interview from a member of our community: Eric Johnson, a staff member.

Question #1: WHO are you?

Eric Johnson, Lamont Homes. I’m somewhat of a floater today. I mainly work at 1627 W Street.

Question #2: WHEN did you start working with Lamont Homes?

I’ve been on staff with the company for about three years now. Been around quite awhile.

Question #3: HOW would you describe your role?

I would describe my role as caring for the clients. I’ve begun to know all of them at this point because I work all of the houses. You have to be diligent. You have to very good with the medications, because the meds mean a lot. You have to be good with cooking; that helps! And you definitely have to be consistent with this job. If you tell the clients one thing, you have to stick to it, to give the residents a sense of normalcy as different staff rotate across the homes. That means a lot.

Question #4: WHAT is the most challenging part of your job?

Well, we don’t have a lot of challenging clients, but for those who have more serious conditions, it can be challenging to communicate sometimes. But that’s pretty much our job, because the whole program is about working with and caring for them. So dealing with the clients on a high level can be challenging, but it’s important work. I’ve come to find out it’s very needed.

Question #5: WHY have you chosen to dedicate your career to this kind of service?

Well, me being here three years, not only have I become accustomed to it, I actually enjoy a lot of it. It means a lot when I see them and the smiles on their faces. It’s like I said, it’s not just a regular job: it’s needed. Somebody’s got to do it. And if you care to do it, that’s a plus. When you develop a relationship with the residents, as such, they become your family almost. That’s why, for me, I can say I enjoy it. When I go to the different houses, it’s always a warm welcome – a “good to see you again.” So that helps me out also. It’s a good feeling to know you’re actually making a difference.

Given the times, Eric was wearing a mask during his interview. It lasted only 5 minutes, but the whole time Eric had one eye on me, and his other on the home – making sure everything was okay. It’s clear from his words, from his mannerisms, and his daily work that Eric cares about our clients. He’s built genuine bonds with the residents under his charge. He describes them as family, and draws purpose from the role he plays in that family. In a time that demands the best from all of us, it’s heartening to hear that Eric still takes joy from the critical services he provides. You can tell, even from beneath the mask, he’s still smiling.