People Assisting the Homeless
Volunteer: Bella McGowan
People Assisting the Homeless' (PATH) mission is to end homelessness for individuals, families, and communities. PATH envisions a world where every person has a home. Their values include creative collaborations, strategic leadership, empowerment for all, and passionate commitment.
Bella McGowan began volunteering with PATH after she retired from her 40-year career as a psychologist as a way to utilize her skillset as a clinician to assist unhoused Angelenos by nurturing their emotional well-being. She began volunteering at Gramercy Place, a 16-unit housing site for young families and provided young pregnant women and mothers with critical life skills education. Bella’s goal was to ensure that the mothers she met were equipped with the tools they needed to care for themselves and their families as they continued their journeys toward stable housing and independence. With the opening of PATH’s 120-unit affordable and permanent supportive housing site that included a rooftop community garden, Bella was thrilled to learn of a volunteer project that centered around working with tenants to develop and maintain the garden. Each week, she brings together groups of three to seven tenant volunteers and guides them through the best ways to care for their garden, while also creating a truly healing environment through garden therapy for them to listen, share, and learn about each other. She uses gardening as a metaphor for life and shows that with patience and care, anything is possible. With volunteers like Bella, PATH is consistently motivated to find new and creative ways to help our unhoused neighbors make it home for good.