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Capitol Hill Briefing Scheduled for April 15th About Homelessness and Mental Illness

WASHINGTON, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- On April 15th, there will be a Capitol Hill briefing called "Honoring The Soloist - A Congressional Briefing on Homelessness and Mental Illness." Author and award winning journalist Steve Lopez, Participant Media, Corporation for Supportive Housing, HELP USA, Lamp Community, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Alliance to End Homelessness and Project H.O.M.E. have join forces to host this important briefing. The briefing is part of the social action campaign that Participant Media has created on behalf of the upcoming film The Soloist -- a national effort to raise awareness about and to help end chronic homelessness in the United States. The Soloist, a DreamWorks/Universal presentation in association with StudioCanal and Participant Media, will open in theaters April 24th.

The briefing and luncheon will take place Wednesday, April 15th from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm (ET) at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in the South Congressional Meeting Room, Washington, DC.

The program will focus on the issues of mental health and homelessness and the fight to end chronic homelessness. The number of chronically homeless adults dropped by 28 percent between 2005 and 2007 largely due to the increase in permanent supportive housing. This proves that with proper resources we can end chronic homelessness. However, federal programs can and need to do more. It is not acceptable, regardless of a person's mental health, for anyone to experience homelessness and with proper support and treatment, housing stability can be achieved. The Soloist tells the story of Nathaniel Ayers, a gifted musician living with schizophrenia while homeless in Los Angeles, and his friendship with Steve Lopez, a journalist for the Los Angeles Times and author of the book on which the movie is based. Their story illustrates how essential it is for people living with mental illness or who are homeless to have strong personal relations or connections. The person living on the corner is still a person and needs friendship and people who care about them.

    Speakers at the April 15th afternoon briefing include:
    -- Steve Lopez, LA Times journalist and best-selling author of 'The
       Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship and the Redemptive Power
       of Music'
    -- Steve Berg, Vice President of Policy and Programs, National Alliance to
       End Homelessness, Washington, DC
    -- Tom Hameline, Senior Vice President of Programs, HELP USA, New York, NY
    -- Casey Horan, Executive Director, Lamp Community, Los Angeles, CA
    -- Hyacinth King, formerly homeless resident and board member, Project
    -- Bob Carolla, Director of Media Relations, National Alliance on Mental
       Illness, Arlington, VA
    -- Deborah DeSantis, President and CEO, Corporation for Supportive
       Housing, New York, NY
    -- Sister Mary Scullion, Executive Director, Project H.O.M.E.,
       Philadelphia, PA

Media Outlets interested in attending the briefing or requiring more information should contact Amanda Krusemark;; (202) 942- 8281.

About The Soloist

The Soloist, starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr., directed by Joe Wright, will be released by Paramount Pictures to theaters nationwide on April 24th. A DreamWorks Pictures/Universal Pictures presentation in association with Studio Canal and Participant Media, the film is based on the true story of the relationship between Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a gifted Juilliard-trained string player whose mental illness landed him among the homeless on the streets of Los Angeles. Featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Soloist is a testament to the redemptive power of music and a reminder of our connections to the most vulnerable among us., or

About Participant Media

Participant Media is a Los Angeles-based entertainment company that focuses on socially relevant, commercially viable feature films, documentaries and television, as well as publishing and digital media. Participant Media is headed by CEO Jim Berk and was founded in 2004 by philanthropist Jeff Skoll, who serves as Chairman. Ricky Strauss is President. Participant exists to tell compelling, entertaining stories that bring to the forefront real issues that shape our lives. For each of its projects, Participant creates extensive social action and advocacy programs that provide ideas and tools to transform the impact of the media experience into individual and community action. Participant's films include The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, Darfur Now, An Inconvenient Truth, Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana, Standard Operating Procedure and The Visitor. For more information, visit

SOURCE The National Alliance to End Homelessness
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