Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Kerry Morrison asks John Watkins about his health and housing situation in April 2010. One year later, after 14 years living in a homeless encampment in the Hollywood Hills, Watkins has an apartment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rudy Salinas / People Assisting the Homeless

Rudy Salinas, right, and Josh Orem, left, drive John Watkins to an appointment. They and other outreach workers with the nonprofit PATH helped Watkins get off the streets and into an apartment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Watkins, right, at an appointment with Orem. It took several months for volunteers to persuade Watkins, the "Godfather" of the Hollywood Hills, to move into an apartment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Rudy Salinas, right, passes papers to Josh Orem, as they help Watkins get situated in his new apartment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Rudy Salinas says goodbye to John Watkins in his new apartment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

John Watkins looks out his kitchen window at the Griffith Observatory in his new Hollywood apartment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

John Watkins makes his bed in his new Hollywood apartment that he shares with a friend.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

John Watkins with his dog, Capone, in his new Hollywood apartment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

John Watkins and his dog, Capone, leave his apartment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

Helping the Hollywood homeless

Pictures in the News | March 13, 2014

In Thursday's Pictures in the News, pallbearers carry the casket of Los Angeles Police Officer Nicholas Lee in to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels for his public funeral...   View Post»

   

Helping the Hollywood homeless

Labor Day 1936-1948

Celebrated on the first Monday in September, Labor Day recognizes the contributions of American workers. For years, major parades were held in downtown Los Angeles. Following...   View Post»

   

Chinese Vice President visits Southern California

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visits Southern California

Xi Jinping, China's vice president and the heir apparent to President Hu Jintao, is making his official U.S. debut this week. Xi's five-day trip to the U.S. has been met with...   View Post»

   

Helping the Hollywood homeless

Southern California Moments Profiles: Sahra Sulaiman

As we review the hundreds of images submitted for Southern California Moments, a few photographers inevitably...   View Post»

Helping the Hollywood homeless

They call him the “Godfather.”

For 14 years, John Watkins held supreme authority over the homeless encampments deep in the Hollywood hills. So it was with some trepidation that volunteers armed with clipboards picked their way up a rugged trail to his mountain hideaway one morning, hoping he would answer questions about his health and housing situation.

Their goal: to identify and find homes for the 20 people at greatest risk of early death if left on the streets of Hollywood.

Organizers of the grass-roots effort had no money to help those they interviewed. But they hoped that by putting names and faces to some of the most vulnerable residents, the community would rally to help. A year later, the early results are promising. Thirty-seven chronically homeless people are in apartments; 34 others are expected to be housed within weeks, and more than $800,000 has been raised to sustain the effort.

1 Comment

  1. January 28, 2012, 8:48 pm

    my name is jesse wood… godfather would know me as jbird… he took me in under his wing and saved my life from a very nasty group of people. i was jumped and beaten almost to death, he found me and took me the this little hospital in hollywood. he sat with me for 4 days at the hospital…he didnt even know me. i lived with him and his dog, "capone" for 4 yrs. i was known to all the squaters as his son. its been 7 yrs since i was in hollywood living in a tent. i am now very well off and have a great family. if there was anyone in the world that needed something like this happen it would be him. If there is anyway possible i would like to contact him. i would like to thank him. i can be reached at 586-932-7409

    By: jesse

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published