Join Me and Zach Bonner at United Way's Homewalk (Oh, and Kobe Bryant Too)

Homelessness is a very serious social crisis that affects us all and it looks like such a massive problem, it's a normal reaction to feel we cannot do anything about it. But we can do something about it.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

It does not matter where you live in Los Angeles County, you see people experiencing homelessness on a daily basis. It's a very serious social crisis that affects us all, and it looks like such a massive problem, it's a normal reaction to feel we cannot do anything about it. But we can do something about it.

No matter if you give a panhandler money or not, you are paying for them to be on the streets. Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article "Million Dollar Murray" that talks about how taxpayers paid a million dollars to keep a homeless person on the streets. The bottom line is this: getting people off the streets and into housing not only saves lives, it saves YOUR money.

This coming Saturday bring your family and join Kobe Bryant and thousands of others for United Way of Greater Los Angeles's HomeWalk. HomeWalk 2011 is 5K run/walk to help raise awareness and finances to end homelessness in Los Angeles. The family-friendly event will be held at Exposition Park in Los Angeles on November 19.

HomeWalk is United Way of Greater Los Angeles' annual 5K Run/Walk to End Homelessness. Each year thousands join together to do their part by fundraising and spreading the word that homelessness is a solvable problem.

In Los Angeles County 51,000 people are homeless. Over the past 4 years, HomeWalk has mobilized 18,000 walkers, raised $1.7 million and funded organizations that have moved 9,000 people into permanent housing. All proceeds go directly back to the community, supporting permanent solutions to end homelessness for chronically homeless people, veterans and families. Solutions such as permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing have proven highly successful in cities such as New York and Denver. In Los Angeles County the solutions we support have over 85% success at keeping people off the streets for good with a 43% cost savings for taxpayers.

The number one reason for homelessness is loss of a job. With our region's unemployment at the highest it's been in a decade, it's not surprising that we are the homeless capital of the nation and that 40% of the homeless population are women and children.

For more information on UWGLA's efforts to end homelessness in Los Angeles please visit Home For Good LA:

Maybe you'd like to create a team with your co-workers and then challenge your competitors to do the same. To register and create teams go to Then please add your team to UWGLA's Facebook page so we can help promote you. If you don't know what team to join, I am walking with Zach Bonner's "Zach Pack" team and we'd love to have you. Last year, at the age of 13, Zach walked from Tampa to Los Angeles to raise awareness for homeless youth. You'll love this short video of Zach and his mom , and this year "Little Red Wagon," a movie on Zach and his philanthropy efforts, is being released. Of course, you could always join Kobe's team here.

Even if you're not in the Los Angeles area or busy that day you can register to be a virtual walker and help by sharing about the event over social media.

If you had seen me when I was homeless, you would have crossed the street. I was the worst of the worst, but now I am living proof that people not only can change when given a chance -- we get better! Please help support United Way's HomeWalk and let's work together to end homelessness in Los Angeles.

Popular in the Community