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

The Week in Pictures | May 7-13, 2012

Each week we bring you the very best in visual journalism. A dramatic scene is set in the Philippines, where a man floats in the water with some of his belongings as his...   View Post»


Helping the Hollywood homeless

Pictures in the News | March 19, 2012

Monday's Pictures in the News begins in Washington, D.C., where the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., serves as a backdrop to the cherry blossoms, which are in full...   View Post»


New transfer program aims to disrupt long-established immigration patterns

New strategy seeks to disrupt immigration routes

For years, illegal immigrants were deported across the border from where they were caught, a practice that allowed them to easily try again, sometimes within hours. Now...   View Post»


Anti-government protesters continue to control Benghazi

Foreigners continue to flee Libya, ships in Benghazi evacuate guest workers

Thousands of foreigners continued their exodus from Libya as Moammar Kadafi reportedly deployed mercenaries to quell protests in Tripoli. To the east, guest workers stood in...   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, will not be published