Jeanette Rowe, who introduced homeless companies to individuals within the streets of L.A., dies at 72


Jeanette Rowe, a pioneer in bringing homeless companies into the streets as a substitute of dumping individuals on Skid Row, or anticipating them to scale bureaucratic mountains, has died at 72.

Mayor Karen Bass’ Inside Secure encampment clearances and different trendy homeless applications had been “constructed on the shoulders” of Rowe, the company’s present director mentioned. Rowe took the Los Angeles Homeless Providers Authority’s emergency response workforce from two to 85 workers members.

“Not everybody would really feel snug looking for assist due to ranges of melancholy, hopelessness and different challenges,” mentioned LAHSA govt director Va Lecia Adams Kellum. “The notion somebody goes to the encampment offers inspiration to them.”

Inside a 12 months of her 2016 retirement from LAHSA, Rowe took a place as head of applications on the Midnight Mission on Skid Row, the place she overcame institutional resistance to construct the 110-year-old shelter’s first girls’s program.

Rowe known as herself “an previous hippie,” however few hippies ever labored her punishing six-day weeks, serving to individuals at encampments from the San Gabriel riverbed to Union Station, the place she spent a two-day Christmas vacation serving to relocate lots of of individuals swept out of the landmark’s ornate foyer.

Homeless individuals weren’t “service resistant,” she believed — if solely somebody would hearken to what they wanted. Moreover, she mentioned, “I dig that these individuals have a selection.”

Rowe died Might 26 at a hospital after a brief sickness. She is survived by her spouse, Karen Jenkins-Galloway; brother Eddie Rowe and sister Marilyn Silver.

Rowe grew up in Newark, N.J., in a poor family that by no means felt that manner. “My mom at all times mentioned you solely want one pair of sneakers,” she mentioned.

Her mom stored the again door, and her dinner desk, open to individuals dealing with laborious occasions.

“I by no means slept on my own till I left residence for school” at Cal State Los Angeles and Dominguez Hills, the place she studied music, Rowe mentioned.

She was working as an accountant when the plight of younger homeless individuals in Hollywood drew her into homeless companies. At first she labored with homeless households and kids, who she discovered thrived if their bonds to church, faculty and neighborhood had been preserved whereas they obtained again on their toes.

Midnight Mission President G. Michael Arnold mentioned what handed for outreach again then was rounding up homeless individuals to drop off at Skid Row shelters, or handing out appointment slips.

“Jeanette realized what she discovered applies to everybody being traumatized on the road,” mentioned Arnold, who additionally headed LAHSA throughout Rowe’s tenure there.

The homeless service system had floundered for years in matches and begins, Rowe mentioned. Sobering facilities, serviced by Skid Row’s “boozer cruise,” and short-term hire vouchers had been reduce off for lack of funding. Till 2005, officers had no dependable homeless depend, which she likened to attempting to cook dinner with out figuring out who’s coming to dinner.

After the 2016 passage of town’s $1.2-billion homeless housing bond, she felt Los Angeles was “on the right track” and retired from LAHSA. “Housing is vital,” she mentioned.

Her plan was to rescue animals and manage concert events for homeless individuals with a musician good friend from New York. She did rescue avenue animals, notably in her longtime neighborhood of Leimert Park, and manage Skid Row concert events — however her retirement was barely a 12 months previous when Arnold employed her on the Midnight Mission, the place she labored till her dying.

“Her coronary heart simply wouldn’t maintain her out of the streets,” Arnold mentioned.

Doris Starling, the Midnight Mission’s director of avenue companies entry heart, known as Rowe her good friend and mentor.

“She taught me methods to encourage individuals,” mentioned Starling, including that they usually attended girls’s basketball video games collectively.

Rowe was a gifted author, and her program proposals usually gained the day — even once they arrived by electronic mail at 3 within the morning, Starling mentioned.

“We’d say, ‘Jeanette. Go to mattress. Please go to mattress,’” Starling mentioned.


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