A Special Lamont Homes “5 in 5” featuring our Mother/Daughter Management: Arnida Lamont and Monica Lamont-Bethea

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 two members of our community: Arnida Lamont, our Founder, and her daughter Monica Lamont-Bethea, our CEO.

Question #1: WHO are you?

MOTHER: Arnida Ball Lamont, Founder & Chairwoman of Lamont Homes.

DAUGHTER: Monica Lamont-Bethea, CEO of Lamont Homes.

Question #2: WHERE are you from?

MOTHER: Washington, D.C. I was born at Gallinger Hospital, which became DC General. I went to Stevens Elementary School, which is at 21st and K Street NW – the same school that Amy Carter went to. Then I went to Langley Junior High School, followed by McKinley Tech High School. After graduating from McKinley Tech, I went to Washington Technical Institute, which is now UDC.

DAUGHTER: Washington, D.C. I grew up on U Place, SE, where we now have four group homes. I actually grew up in one of the group homes: 1917 U Place SE. I attended local catholic schools for elementary and high school, gained by bachelor’s degree from Hampton University then completed by Master’s degree in teacher leadership. 

Question #3: WHEN did you get started with Lamont Homes?

MOTHER: Well, I had a job with DC government after graduating from Washington Technical Institute. My role was to pay all of the vendors of the city, so from that experience I learned a lot about how the Department of Human Services functioned, and explored how they relied on group home providers to provide residential services to vulnerable members of the DC community. At the same time, I had been connecting with one of my former classmates, who worked at St. Elizabeth. She used to bring the patients around to her house to visit, and so observing that at the same time I was learning about how the DHS functioned inspired me to act. I always wanted to be my own boss, and I was also interested in real estate at the time. Back then, in DC, real estate wasn’t as hard to come by so long as you had good credit, which I did. So I started purchasing my first houses back in the 80s, and opened them up as group homes, which were desperately needed.

DAUGHTER: I retired from teaching in 2015, and became a full time employee of Lamont Homes. Prior to that, I would always help my mother out with anything needed for the business.

Question #4: WHAT is something you would want people to know about Lamont Homes who may read this?

MOTHER: This business is family owned and operated. It was enabled by my forebears, and it empowers my progeny. 36 U Street NW, one of our current group homes, was the first house I purchased. My younger siblings were raised there, and when my grandfather got sick, my mom sold the house to me. That was the start of it all. Over the years, the business has not only provided for the many clients we have sheltered and staff we have employed, but it’s given me a way to support my family. And now, my family is helping me continue to run the business. It is a virtuous circle, and we are all better for it.

DAUGHTER: I would just want people to understand how important the services we are providing to the community, and not just us, but the collective of providers who are supporting this vulnerable population. A number of our residents come from one of three places: St. Elizabeth’s Psychiatric Hospital, prison, or are homeless living on the street. Without homes like ours to provide them with a safe and supportive environment to transition back into regular life, I would worry what might happen to these folks. Our residents are good people who have fallen under hard circumstances, and for the past forty years, we have provided them a place to call home.

Question #5: WHY have you chosen this path as your calling?

MOTHER: I would want people to understand that this has been a humanitarian endeavor for us. Operating group homes for vulnerable communities is a good way to help people with behavioral and other health issues. I always had a notion that I wanted to help people, and this business has been my manifestation of that calling.

DAUGHTER: I basically started working with Lamont Homes to continue the legacy my mother started. Over the course of 40 years, this business as provided hundreds of people in need of help a place to call home. Currently, we operate 10 homes, employ over 30 DC residents, and house over 50 residents. It’s important work, and it’s gratifying to know that I can play a role in furthering our cause.

This past Sunday the nation celebrated the mothers that made all of us. So it seemed fitting that Lamont Homes take some time to recognize the mother and daughter (a mother, herself) that make our business possible. It is rare to find a mother-daughter duo that own and operate a business. Rarer still, a business that has lasted for so long, employed so many, and served many more. And as black women, they had even greater obstacles to overcome: Arnida gave birth to Monica in the same year the landmark Civil Rights Act was passed, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. So kudos to the mothers that make us possible. We are all grateful for your hard work and perseverance.