Mollie Lowery. Photo: lacatholicworker.org.
Steve Lopez has written a lovely column on his friend Mollie Lowery, the Skid Row organizer and housing advocate and co-founder of the LAMP Community. Lowery died Monday at home in Highland Park at age 70, after having cancer. Lowery had helped Lopez with his column subject Nathaniel Ayers back when Ayers was homeless on the streets of downtown. From Steve's column yesterday:
For decades in Los Angeles, no one was more dedicated to comforting the sick, the destitute and the forgotten than Mollie Lowery.
Mayors, supervisors and other public officials sought her out for policy advice.
Countless addled, suffering souls who could not help themselves, or would not be helped by others, were reeled in by Lowery. Some of them joined her team, roaming the streets of Los Angeles on a quest to help more people.
Tall and blade-thin, Lowery carried herself with great humility and spoke softly, but worked fiercely.
She was determined to do, as she put it, whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to help homeless people -- especially those with severe mental illness -- rebuild their lives.
From the LA Times obituary:
Lowery was a fierce advocate for and friend of those she worked to help. In 1985, she founded Los Angeles Men’s Place, a skid row drop-in center for people with mental illness, and later helped expand it to Lamp Community, which provided permanent supportive housing that included counseling and other social services.
Lowery served as director of programs and then executive director of Housing Works, another homeless services organization, from 2006 to 2015, and continued as a consultant to the nonprofit until a few weeks before she died.
Mike Neely, chair of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission, said that Lowery “was one of the first people that said that homeless mentally ill people don’t have to be condemned to life on the street.”
Lowery grew up in the Valley and attended Bishop Alemany High School. She received a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from USC. Lowery, who briefly became a Catholic nun, got into community organizing with the Ocean Park Community Center in Santa Monica. Lowery and philanthropist Frank Rice founded the Los Angeles Men's Place, or LAMP, in 1985.
Some tweets paying tribute to Lowery.
The movement to end homelessness lost a hero this morn. in Mollie Lowery, whose fierce & brilliant legacy lives on. https://t.co/eNpSOwwWzY— Sheila Kuehl (@SheilaKuehl) July 25, 2016
Mollie Lowery was a saint to those living on the streets. We will continue the fight for dignity in her memory. RIP https://t.co/PQmIKCX3DA— Mark Ridley-Thomas (@MRTempower) July 26, 2016
An amazing & powerful woman RT Mollie Lowery, to the end, was a saint to those living on the streets - LA Times - https://t.co/w1x4QXjEby— LA Family Housing (@LAFamilyHousing) July 25, 2016
Rest in Peace Mollie Lowery, a wonderful person and tireless helper of LA's poor. https://t.co/hxBHrNH4Ve— Jonathan Parfrey (@jparfrey) July 26, 2016