About 12,000 people gathered in downtown Los Angeles early Saturday to participate in United Way’s seventh annual HomeWalk to raise money to aid the county’s increasing homeless population.
For the third straight year, Lakers star Kobe Bryant served as honorary chair of the annual 5K run and walk in Exposition Park that raises money for food, housing and support services for the homeless. The Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation provides similar assistance.
There is greater public awareness now that a health crisis or the loss of a job can lead to homelessness, said Christine Marge, director of Home for Good for United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “Some people believed there is no way to solve this … but now they see they can be part of a permanent solution.”
A jump in the number of Los Angeles County residents who became homeless in the last two years defied the national trend of a modest decline in the overall homeless population, according to federal estimates released this week.