Prevent homelessness? Break the cycle of poverty? It’s not just his dream but his job.

by Robert Samuels

Lamar Smith, a case worker with the city-contracted nonprofit Community of Hope, does a walk-through in mid-December with Timika Holiday, 29, a formerly homeless mother of two, at her home in the District. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/Washington Post

Sometimes, he just hopes they’ll open the door. But the prospect seemed unlikely on this cloudy morning as Lamar Smith, 36, approached the brick walk-up. The lights were off, the blinds closed; no sign of anyone in this Southeast Washington home.