LOS ANGELES, Nov. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, United Way of Greater Los Angeles hosted its 9th Annual HomeWalk to end homelessness for all in L.A. County, a 5K run and walk in Exposition Park in downtown Los Angeles. CEO and President Elise Buik, L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council President Herb Wesson, other elected and civic leaders, and Steve Hilton of the Hilton Foundation addressed nearly 12,000 participants who came together to raise awareness and funds necessary to help end homelessness. This year's top individual fundraiser was Dennis Arriola, President and CEO of SoCalGas, who raised over $52,000, and the top team fundraiser was SoCalGas, that raised a historic $100,000. In the past eight years, HomeWalk has raised over $5 million to help house the homeless, and this year's event has raised an additional $1.1 million.
With over 44,000 men, women, children suffering from homelessness in Los Angeles County, of which over 4,000 are veterans, United Way and its partners are working to drive community and government awareness and action as part of the organization's ongoing campaign to eradicate homelessness. Over the past eight years, 63,000 people have participated in HomeWalk, raising funds to move over 15,900 people into housing. Every dollar raised goes directly towards ending homelessness, including the collaborative objective to end veteran homelessness by 2015 — a goal which is expected to be met by early 2016. Thanks to the generosity of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, every $5,000 raised by an individual or team will be matched with another $5,000.
"While we have made great strides and built strong partnerships across all sectors, homelessness will continue to be our focus until no one has to live without a home. By mobilizing thousands of Angelenos, we are raising the awareness and funds necessary to create pathways out of poverty and move our most vulnerable neighbors into permanent housing," said Elise Buik, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles. "HomeWalk provides a platform for communities across the county to stand together to fight homelessness, a stand that is echoed by the participants from our schools, public officials, businesses, and philanthropic organizations. Since 2010 United Way and its Home For Good collaborative has housed 24,000 chronic and veteran homeless individuals alone."
Homeless statistics in Los Angeles County:
- L.A. County has one of the highest homeless populations in the country, with over 40,000 living on the streets on any given night
- 1 in 4 children in L.A. County lives in poverty
- 44,359 are homeless in L.A. County
- 4,362 of the homeless are veterans who risked their lives in service to our country
- 14,118 are chronically homeless
"We are grateful for the continued work of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for its tireless support to end homelessness, as well as its generosity in matching the funds raised by participants. With the support of advocates like the Hilton Foundation, our sponsors, volunteers, public officials and Los Angeles County residents, we will continue to make a powerful impact in our collective fight," continued Buik.
"This year HomeWalk is focused on ending homelessness once and for all in Los Angeles. We are making tremendous progress in our commitment to make sure no veteran is left on the streets," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "We are looking at the big picture; making sure that people get what they need to permanently get off the streets. All of us are part of one city, and no one should be left behind."
Today's event commenced in downtown Los Angeles' Exposition Park with elected officials, celebrities, athletes and thousands of participants beginning the Walk near Exposition Boulevard, and ending on Figueroa Street. The epidemic of homelessness in Los Angeles County is one of United Way's core priorities in its efforts to create pathways out of poverty. HomeWalk is one part of United Way's work to raise the public awareness and create solutions to end homelessness. For more information please go to www.homewalkla.org.
About United Way of Greater Los Angeles
United Way of Greater Los Angeles is a nonprofit organization that creates pathways out of poverty by helping homeless people move into housing, providing students with the support they need to graduate high school prepared for college and the workforce, and helping hard-working families become financially stable. United Way identifies the root causes of poverty and works strategically to solve them by building alliances across all sectors, funding targeted programs and advocating for change. For more information, visit www.unitedwayla.org.
Each year, United Way of Greater Los Angeles hosts the annual HomeWalk to end homelessness, a 5k run and walk in Exposition Park in downtown Los Angeles. With nearly 40,000 homeless men, women and children in Los Angeles County, over 4,000 are veterans, United Way and its partners are working to drive community and government awareness and action as part of the organization's ongoing efforts to end homelessness. Over the past eight years, HomeWalk has mobilized 63,000 participants, raised $5.4 million and will have moved 15,900 people off the streets and into permanent housing. For more information, visit homewalkla.org.
SOURCE United Way of Greater Los Angeles