Head of a house that strives to make all feel at home.
As executive director of Raphael House, a homeless shelter for families and their children, Father David Lowell is involved in running every aspect of the program, from fundraising and administration to washing dishes, mopping floors and vacuuming carpets.
Lowell, an Eastern Orthodox priest who has been with Raphael House for 21 years, believes in leading from the bottom up.
"I'm not asking anyone who stays here to do anything that I'm not also doing," Lowell said. "We're very organized. Philosophically, I try to work with all the staff members so that we are treating the families the same way that we'd want to be treated -- with kindness and respect. Most of the families we see are very scared about the situations they are in, and they take it very seriously."
Named after an archangel of Judaism and Christianity, Raphael House opened 35 years ago as the first homeless shelter for families in San Francisco. The four-story building, built in 1908 and located at 1065 Sutter St., has three residential floors and 17 bedrooms for families.
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