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United Way of Greater Los Angeles Kicks Off Initiative to Prevent and End Homelessness With HomeWalk 2007
Date:10/15/2007

First-of-Its-Kind 5K Family Walk on November 17th to Raise Awareness and Funds to Fight Homelessness in Los Angeles County - the Homeless Capital of

America

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- United Way of Greater Los Angeles today announced its 5K Family Walk in Exposition Park in Los Angeles at 8:30 am on November 17, 2007 called HomeWalk, part of its A Pathway Home initiative to prevent and end homelessness. The walk, in collaboration with the Fannie Mae Foundation Help the Homeless Program and Walkathon, will take place simultaneously in Washington D.C. and across six other cities. This is the first such walk in Los Angeles, although Washington, D.C.'s event celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with more than 35,000 walkers.

Homewalk launched publicly this morning with an historic news conference at the Downtown Women's Center that featured the support of the entire elected leadership of both the City and County of Los Angeles, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky, City Council President Eric Garcetti and State Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas. Each elected official issued a public invitation to attend the walk, and challenged the residents of Greater Los Angeles to get involved in fighting the causes of homelessness.

HomeWalk and A Pathway Home are a primary part of United Way's recently launched Action Plan, which focuses on creating pathways out of poverty. With an estimated 152,000 homeless in Los Angeles County throughout the year, United Way and its partners believe strongly that the homelessness problem can be solved with concerted community action; and are committed to helping thousands of homeless families and individuals find housing and self-sufficiency. Through HomeWalk, United Way will attempt to build increased public and political will for workable, effective homelessness solutions like supportive housing.

"It is unacceptable that more than 10,000 children are living in Greater Los Angeles without a home," states Elise Buik, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. "We are one of this nation's wealthiest cities with over a quarter of a million millionaires and yet we are sadly the nation's homeless capital with 1 in 4 children living in poverty."

While Los Angeles County has the highest homeless population it remains a national epidemic. "On any given day in the United States approximately 754,000 homeless people either live on the streets, in shelters or transitional housing," said Peter Beard of the Fannie Mae Foundation. "We are proud to be a partner with United Way and other organizations for this year's HomeWalk, bringing attention and necessary funds to help so many people in need and reduce the number of people living on the streets."

HomeWalk also supports United Way's newly formed partnership with PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) Partners to break the cycle of homelessness in Los Angeles County by providing basic services such as shelter and healthcare linked to affordable housing for people in need. "Homelessness is not a choice and affects more than 70,000 people sleeping on the streets each night; alarmingly 40% are women and children," said Joel Roberts, president and CEO of PATH. "We want HomeWalk to become a highly anticipated yearly event that connects people every day to homelessness, not just on the holidays when folks volunteer to serve meals at Thanksgiving."

The walk will include a homelessness service fair, where participants can meet and volunteer with service agencies that are helping homeless people, and an educational experience featuring the photography of Lynn Blodgett and his new book Finding Grace, the Face of America's Homeless. Blodgett, the CEO of Fortune 500 IT company Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. (ACS), spent three years visiting skid row areas across America and photographing homeless people, and his evocative photos will be on display at HomeWalk.

United Way's mission is to fight poverty in Greater Los Angeles. The agency's action plan sets out 10 goals over the next 10 years in three key areas: Basic Needs (healthcare, food and shelter, family safety); Education (middle school transition, high school graduation and parent engagement); and Financial Stability (job training, financial literacy and family savings). United Way believes that all people should have access to the basic services they need to succeed in life, that all young people should graduate from high school prepared for college and the workforce, and that all working adults should have access to the economic and employment opportunities they need to provide for their families' future.

Joining United Way and its partners the Fannie Mae Foundation and PATH Partners are sponsors: AIG SunAmerica, Bank of America, The California Endowment, City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, Deloitte, NBC Universal, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Wells Fargo. The HomeWalk will take place on Saturday, November 17, 2007 starting and returning to Exposition Park, at 700 Exposition Park Drive. Registration is $25 for adults and $15 for youth under 15 years old. HomeWalk is part of United Way's pledge to end and prevent homelessness and hopes to attract several thousand participants in its first year. For more information please go to http://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 focusing on meeting basic needs, improving educational achievement and increasing financial stability for the most vulnerable in our community. Through its research work, United Way identifies the issues and works in partnership with community leaders and supporters to solve them by funding targeted programs and advocating for change. For more information, visit http://www.unitedwayla.org.

About PATH Partners

Since 1984, PATH Partners and its family of agencies have been committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness by providing services and building housing for people in need. Now a regional organization with national influence, PATH Partners also helps communities integrate support services with permanent housing through capacity-building, creative partnerships and community mobilization. For more information, visit http://www.epath.org.

About Fannie Mae Foundation's Help the Homeless Program

The Fannie Mae Foundation is a private nonprofit organization, supported solely by Fannie Mae, that creates affordable homeownership and housing opportunities across the United States. The mission of the Fannie Mae Foundation Help the Homeless program is to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness and to increase resources for organizations working to prevent and end homelessness across the United States. The Help the Homeless program also fosters volunteerism in service to homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless.

STYLE USAGE: The Fannie Mae Foundation is a separate legal entity from Fannie Mae (a NYSE-listed company). In order to facilitate clarity and avoid confusion, news organizations are asked to refer to the Foundation exclusively as "the Fannie Mae Foundation" or "the Foundation," but not as "Fannie Mae."

Media Contact:

Taulene Ayoub

213-808-6436

tayoub@unitedwayla.org


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SOURCE United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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