Jefferson House opened in April 1976, after three years of planning. In 1973, Charlie Mueller, of Cap, and Lewis Hickson had begun working on the idea of a residential treatment program for indigent men with substance abuse problems. At the time, very few agencies in the Detroit area were providing the proposed six -to -nine months of live-in treatment for men suffering from alcoholism or another drug dependency. The first major problem the planners encountered was locating a large
home in a residential area that would tolerate such a program. After a long search, the present house in Indian Village became.available on a rental basis. The landlord agreed to lease the property to the Capuchin for the Jefferson House project.Bob Skeris, ofm cap, became the program’s first director, and he worked hard to establish positive relations with the neighbors. His efforts were highly successful; the house was purchased and Jefferson House became a permanent part of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen ministry.
Joe Venne, of the cap, was the program’s second director, serving from October of 1983 through August of 1986. He was followed by Baldwin Beyer, of cap. Under his leadership, the program became licensed by the State of Michigan and accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
Jefferson House was the first residential facility in Michigan to receive this accreditation. The fourth director, Mr.James Fleming, was hired in 1992 and retired in December of 2005. The current director, Joe Monachino, ofm Cap. is a certified addiction counselor and limited license psychologist.
A towering presence at Jefferson House almost from the beginning was Sue Lane, a compassionate, insightful woman who “mothered” the residents and counseled more than one through the many stormy episodes that surfaced during their recovery. Well known throughout the community, she worked at Jefferson House until her untimely death in 2005. Her spirit lives on at the house.
In April of 2014, Jefferson House celebrated its thirty-
fifth anniversary. More than seven hundred men have been assisted in recovery over the past thirty-five years. While living at Jefferson House, residents commonly forge an enduring bond with staff and other residents, leading many to call or return frequently, sometimes long after they have left the facility. With the ongoing support and prayers of our benefactors, our goal is to continue providing quality healing and recovery experiences for those seeking our help.