6th Annual HomeWalk To End Homelessness Chaired By Lakers Star Kobe Bryant

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For the second straight year, LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant is teaming up with United Way of Greater Los Angeles as Honorary Chair of the 2012 HomeWalk 5K Run/Walk to raise the awareness and funds necessary to end homelessness in LA County. As Chair, Bryant joins leaders in Los Angeles County, such as the Hilton Foundation, in the fight to end homelessness; the foundation will match all walker donations of $100 or more. The 2012 HomeWalk event is scheduled for November 17, 2012, commencing at Exposition Park in downtown Los Angeles. Over the past five years HomeWalk has mobilized 28,000 walkers, raised $2.2 million and funded organizations that have moved 12,000 individuals into permanent housing.

"Last year's HomeWalk was an incredible event, and I'm asking my fans and fellow Angelenos to come out again this year and support the cause to end homelessness," said Los Angeles Laker, Kobe Bryant. "Walkers can either join me on Team Kobe Bryant, or start their own team to mobilize friends and family to walk, at HomeWalkLA.org." Bryant has a deep interest in the plight of homeless youth and families creating the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, dedicated to having a measurable and positive impact on the critical issue of youth homelessness in Los Angeles.

L.A. County is the homeless capital of the nation with 51,000 people living without homes; 40% are women and children and 19,000 are chronic or veterans. United Way's HomeWalk brings thousands of people together to fundraise and generate awareness that homelessness is a solvable problem.

"We are extremely grateful for Kobe's continued commitment to HomeWalk and ending homelessness in L.A. County, as well as the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which has provided match grant allowing us to match every donation of $100 or more for HomeWalk," said Elise Buik, president and CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles. "We are equally grateful to the thousands of dedicated people who show up for HomeWalk every year to take a stand against homelessness in Los Angeles County. Collectively, we can all make a significant impact to end homelessness in our backyard."

The 6th Annual Home Walk takes place Saturday, November 17th at Exposition Park. Registration is $25 for walkers and $30 for runners, with kids under 18 free. Participants can register online at http://www.HomeWalkLA.org. All proceeds go directly back to the community, supporting organizations that move homeless veterans and chronically homeless people into permanent supportive housing. This model has proven highly successful in other cities such as New York and Denver. In Los Angeles County it has an 85% success rate at keeping people off the streets for good with a 43% cost savings for taxpayers.

"We are asking the residents of Los Angeles County to get involved in this year's HomeWalk, as this year we can double our efforts with money raised to fight homelessness. In addition to joining or creating a team, supporters can donate to the cause by texting "HWTeamKobe" at 864833. We encourage walkers to follow us @launitedway, #HomeWalk and Facebook.com/UWGLA and tell their friends so they can be part of the solution to end one of our county's most critical problems," continued Buik.

For more information on HomeWalk, go to 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 helping homeless people move into housing, providing students with the support they need to graduate high school prepared for college and the workforce, and helping hard-working families become financially stable. United Way identifies the root causes of poverty and works strategically to solve them by building alliances across all sectors, funding targeted programs and advocating for change. For more information, visit www.unitedwayla.org.

SOURCE United Way of Greater Los Angeles