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12th annual HomeWalk to raise funds for homeless

LOS ANGELES — Registration is underway for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ annual HomeWalk 5K.  

The 12th annual HomeWalk 5K Family Run/Walk takes place May 18 at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles. It has become the largest public event to end homelessness in the nation.

This year, the United Way is team with the Los Angeles Rams for the event.

Three Rams, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and punter Johnny Hekker, are serving as team captains for this year’s walk. 

“Our most vulnerable neighbors need our help. Whether it’s single mothers and families, veterans or people who have fallen on hard times because of a loss of job or medical crisis, homelessness has many faces,” said Kevin Demoff, chief operating officer of the Rams. “At the Rams, our goal is to use our platform to rally ourselves, our community and all of Los Angeles to climb to new heights and tackle this pressing issue together with compassion, humanity and teamwork.”

“HomeWalk has provided 19,000 homes to our neighbors experiencing homelessness, and we know homes end homelessness,” said Elise Buik, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “This walk does more than fundraise — it unites our communities — and we know with the support of our three Rams HomeWalk team captains and the entire Los Angeles Rams organization, we are going to house even more of L.A. County’s 53,000 individuals who live every day on the streets.”

During its 11-year history, HomeWalk has successfully mobilized more than 100,000 people and raised $8.6 million in funding, which directly funded permanent supportive housing for L.A. County’s most vulnerable neighbors.

Powered by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Everyone In is a countywide initiative bringing together leaders and voices across L.A. County to keep the best solutions to end homelessness moving forward by creating ways for the public to get involved; tracking, measuring and sharing progress; and lifting up successes and celebrating wins.

HomeWalk’s incredible success is the result of a collaborative effort between thousands of individuals over the years, but it’s beginning can be credited to one man: Stewart Kwoh, founding executive director and president of Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Los Angeles) as well as a member of United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ Board of Directors.

In 2007, Kwoh served on the board of both United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the Fannie Mae Foundation, the latter of which held a “Help The Homeless March” in Washington, D.C. as a demonstration against homelessness. He had the vision to realize the impact that a similar event would have on Los Angeles County.

“I spoke to Elise Buik, who had just become the head of United Way in Los Angeles. She said yes,” Kwoh said. “We created HomeWalk in response to the rapidly growing number of people on our streets and the lack of knowledge about the causes and solutions for homelessness in Los Angeles.” 

HomeWalk’s success that first year, and for the many years since, has been made possible with support from the community and key funding from many different organizations, including millions in matching funds from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

This year’s goals are bold: engage 15,000 runners and walkers and raise $1.5 million to support our people experiencing homelessness.

Those wanting to participate can signup the morning of the run/walk, starting at 6:30 a.m. at Grand Park, Second Stareet and Grand Avenue, downtown. The run begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk stats at 9.

To register online, visit https://secure.qgiv.com/event/homewalk2019/register/#signup.

Wave Staff Report