FEATURED IN THE FILM:
Kevin ‘KK’ Cohen
- KK found his home on Skid Row twenty-five years ago. He found a place where everyone accepted him for who he was. He knew everyone, every flim flam, every corner; he was of and from the streets. He loved horses from childhood in semi rural Compton, but he was drawn to the unconventional and bucked against authority in all its forms. He was kindest but he was also a survivor, he knew how to get by and he saw the game for what it was. He read people in an instant; he had a special gift when it came to understanding the needs of others.
He worked at the LAMP ranch for many years with LAMP founder Mollie Lowery. He loved LAMP and truly understood mental illness. His profound sense of understanding led him to Lee Anne who became his friend, and his 'fiancé'.
He spoke truth to power and treated the homeless, advocates and the mentally ill with the same humanity and humor. He loved truth; it pleased him to hear 'real talk'. Which is why the community was stunned when he was murdered in 2009 in a skid row lodging house.
Says director Thomas Napper, "Absolutely no one who met him did anything other than love him instantly, he made you feel very safe, anywhere we went, and he was very polite. He was charming, street smart, a good listener and full of good ideas. His laugh still echoes in my mind, he was an alley cat with the heart of a lion."
Manuel 'O.G.' Compito
- On the run for eight years before getting extradited back to Los Angeles, he found himself on skid row having lost everything. He lost everything after this, losing his home and getting involved with drugs. Fed up with the trash on the streets, he began giving back to his community be organizing a volunteer street sweeping brigade: The Skid Row Brigade is a special unit of OG's N Service Association. O.G. continues to clean the streets of Skid Row.
Linda Lorraine Harris
– When recalling the experience of participating in the film and documentary LOST ANGELS
, Linda speaks fondly of the film crew members who made her feel accepted by establishing a sense of communication that made her feel special and comfortable. More importantly, Linda shared that although her disability would not categorize her as the typical glamour girl found on television or film, she was still able to make her childhood dream of being an actress come true even if it wasn’t the way she had originally imagined it.
Presently, Linda is still a resident of Skid Row and has aspirations of one day singing on live television. Linda is an active member of Lamp Community for the last eleven years, has remained clean and sober for 19 years, attends church regularly, and can honestly admit that she has honed the ability to love herself just as she is.
Danny 'The Olympian' Harris
– One of Southern California’s outstanding Track & Field athletes, he went to Perris High School in California, where he earned a scholarship to Iowa State University. He participated in the 1984 Olympic Games at the age of 18 and won a Silver Medal in the 400m hurdles.
Danny started smoking marijuana at the age of 14 and then began experimenting with other types of drugs. After a long slide that eventually landed him in downtown L.A.’s skid row, where he lived for months, he landed at The Midnight Mission at the age 41. There he found support and was able to recover from his addiction. As this film was made, Danny was 20 months clean and sober and he returned to Iowa State University, where he is an Assistant Athletics Coach.
Terri 'Detroit' Hughes
– Terri had the opportunity to participate in the film production of THE SOLOIST and later in LOST ANGELS
. Although she was still homeless and using drugs, Terry recalls her participation in both projects with great fondness. Terri felt accepted and able to be noticed for whom she really is, and she was made to feel like ‘royalty’. After obtaining housing, Terry felt able to leave her dark place and stopped using drugs altogether.
Currently Terri is living in Downtown Los Angeles and has remained clean and sober. She is a trained Peer Supporter at Lamp and continues to have aspirations of becoming an actress. When asked about her experience and thoughts about Skid Row Terri shared, “Skid Row is about wants or needs. You’re in the wrong place if you have neither. Today I’m in Skid Row, not on it.”
Lee Anne Leven
- In 2009, Lee Anne had the opportunity to participate as an extra in the film THE SOLOIST
and the documentary LOST ANGELS
. That was the same year that marked the end her twenty year episode of homelessness as Leanne was moved into the Lamp Lodge apartments.
Presently, Lee Anne is still a Lamp member; remains housed, and continues to assume responsibility for the stray cats she tries to feed on a regular basis. Leanne shared that as a child she had dreamed of becoming a doctor but that perhaps what her real dream was simply to help those that couldn’t help themselves. When asked what her future aspirations are, Leanne shared that she plans to continue feeding her cats, educate people on weight loss methods, and eat chocolate cake.
– Mollie Lowery has worked with poor and homeless persons since 1975. As Executive Director of the Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC) in Santa Monica, she was a founder of Sojourn Battered Women’s Shelter, Stepping Stone Youth Crisis Shelter, Turning Point Homeless Shelter, in addition to organizing several city and county-wide coalitions for the homeless.
In 1985, Mollie Lowery founded and developed Lamp Community on Skid Row, a drop-in center and 30 bed crisis shelter (safehaven) for adults diagnosed with serious mental illness, who are homeless, 80% of whom are addicted to or abusing drugs and/or alcohol, and 15% of whom are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
Pioneering the “harm reduction”- model of intervention and building a strong, life-long, supportive community, Mollie guided the development of Lamp Community’s 48 bed Village Residence, four business enterprises, Lamp Lodge- a fifty unit apartment building, and over 75 additional units of permanent housing through partnership/master lease. By 2003, Lamp Community had grown into a fully contained, “non-linear” continuum of housing, recovery and employment services with a staff of 120, 50% of whom were prior or current members of Lamp Community.
In February 2005, after twenty years, Mollie left Lamp Community. Since then, she has worked as an independent consultant and trainer in the areas of mental health, addiction treatment, homelessness, and housing. In 2007, she initiated the Home First and Mobil Integrated Service Team for Housing Works- providing street and shelter outreach to chronically homeless individuals and families, assisting them into permanent supportive housing, and on-site services to help them sustain their housing and thrive in their new community. Home First also accepts referrals from housing providers- tenants-at-risk of losing their housing- eviction prevention work.
Albert 'Bam Bam' Olson
– A former electrician and self-described "punky New Yorker," Bam Bam was a resident of Skid Row for two years. His mental health disorders include bipolarity, schizophrenia, PTHD, and a gender identity disorder. His mental instability led to a series of crises which led to having his child taken from him, which was the last straw for him and he slipped into homelessness. With the help of LA’s health services agencies, he was able to get his Section 8 housing and now he is off the streets, sober and med compliant. He has re-forged a relationship with his daughter and is living with HIV.
Steve 'General Dogon' Richardson
- A former gang member, and ex-felon, General Dogon returned to Skid Row after an 18 year stint in a California state prison, with the promise to fellow inmates to give back for the wrongs he had done. After witnessing the injustices perpetrated upon the homeless by authority types, General Dogon joined LACAN (Los Angeles Community Action Network) where started volunteering to help protect and serve the community of Skid Row. He continues to serves his community with L.A.C.A.N.