June 1, 2017
It’s Friday afternoon at the drop-in center known as Mother Brown’s on the corner of Jennings Street and Van Dyke Avenue. Despite the iron-gated door fronting the entrance, people drop in freely to check their mail, take a shower, do laundry or chill out in the reception area. For a nominal fee, Mother Brown’s rents out lockers. Gwendolyn Westbrook, the director of the United Council of Human Services – the official name of Mother Brown’s – as well as staff, describe the place as a community center. Client Johnny Scott likens Mother Brown’s to a family. “This here is a place where people get along,” he says.
May 8, 2013
Mother Brown was the name many of the homeless people gave Barbara Brown back in the day when food was scarce and shelters remote. Barbara Brown passed away in 2006. She left a legacy in Bayview Hunters Point that began with the use of her own money to feed the hungry out of her car. This small deed evolved into a full service kitchen.