Helping the Hollywood Homeless as presented by: Los Angeles Times

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. 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.

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