Adam Pearson is an unsung hero in the city’s plight against chronic homelessness. As program director of Peter & Paul Community Services’ Safe Haven Program and site manager for Garfield Place Apartments, work has never been “just a job” for Adam; he is fully vested in making positive change in his clients’ lives.
Adam approaches his work in a way that honors community and history. Before Garfield Place Apartments moved in their first tenant, Adam and his team talked with four neighborhood associations in the area about the project, its mission, and the benefits of permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless. It was important to him to reach out beyond the walls of Garfield Place Apartments and dispel myths about homelessness.
Adam knows each of the 25 residents of Garfield Place Apartments by name, background, interests, and goals. Beyond providing access to social service agencies for needs such as counseling and medical care, Adam is also there if someone just wants to talk or shoot a friendly game of hoops in the facility’s gym. When asked to describe Adam, one resident said, “When he’s off duty, he’s on duty. If he’s busy and you need him, he’ll stop and help. He’s the best.”
With Adam’s leadership, Garfield Place Apartments has been recognized by the Missouri Housing Development Commission as a “Best Practices” facility. The apartments boast a higher-than-average retention rate, which is attributed to a staff culture of continuously reaching out to at-risk tenants in an effort to engage them in healthy, meaningful activities.
Adam inspires those around him to see the individual, not their situation or their chronic disease. Dr. Carolyn Baum, Elias Michael Executive Director of the Program in Occupational Therapy, of which Adam is an alumni, says of her colleague, “Adam is a leader in our community and fully dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of the homeless in St. Louis.”Adam is married to Courtney Dula, and together they have a daughter named Vivienne. He says of them: “They inspire me to be my very best every day. Eventually Vivienne will grow up and become a member of this community. We owe it to her and her peers to do our best to solve our city’s problems.”