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United Way helps homeless, hosts Homewalk Nov. 7

Posted: October 8, 2009 11:13 a.m.
Updated: October 9, 2009 10:55 a.m.
LOS ANGELES (PRNewswire) -- As part of its ten-year Creating Pathways Out of Poverty plan, launched in 2007, United Way of Greater Los Angeles today announced the year two results of the Plan's impact on homelessness and poverty in Los Angeles County.

the program is focused on three interconnected areas which are the root causes of poverty--housing and healthcare, education, and financial stability. The plan aims to provide affordable housing and healthcare options to residents, help high school
students graduate prepared for college and the workforce and teach adult job skills and financial education.

Through an investment in programs and partnerships that provide long term solutions across these three areas, the strategy has rendered significant results in tackling the new faces of poverty in Greater Los Angeles. United Way also announced today the 2009 HomeWalk on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Exposition Park in Los Angeles.

Year two results include the following:
* Nearly 5,000 homeless individuals and families moved into permanent housing as a result of the United Way HomeWalk and other efforts focused on homelessness.
* 35,000 students have been helped by new college and career planning programs.
* 3,500 people were placed in jobs as a result of new workforce development and job training programs.
* 3,000 parents participated in educational leadership programs as a result of a greater focus on key impact areas affecting academic achievement.
* 40,000 residents received free tax preparation and earned over $13 million in income tax credits as a result of tax preparation and education programs.
* First-ever Business Leaders Task Force on Homeless were formed as a result of greater business, non-profit and government collaboration.
* As a result of new educational alliances, including the Principals to Watch program, graduating principals have impacted 900 teachers and over 16,000 students.
* $1.6 million workforce development investment were made by LA Workforce Funder Collaborative as a result of new business, government and non-profit partnerships.

"As we realize the economic impact on homelessness in Los Angeles and beyond, we need to continue driving the programs that will eradicate homelessness and poverty in LA County," said Elise Buik, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

"It's an uphill battle--foreclosures are up 222 percent and, in LA County, over half of households in the county spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Cities like New York, Seattle and Portland have focused on long-term solutions such as rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing programs, and have had great success in reducing the homeless population.

"We are beginning to see these programs work here in LA County, and need to continue our single-minded focus to help people find their way out of poverty."

In its approach to end homelessness, the United Way targets the two most important segments of the population: families, the fastest growing segment; and the chronically homeless, the most costly segment.

To quickly move families into housing, the United Way works with partner organizations, such as Door of Hope in Pasadena, to provide rapid rehousing programs helping homeless families with the support they need to regain a stable foundation.

For the chronically homeless, the organization teams with partner organizations such as the Skid Row Housing Trust to provide permanent supportive housing with supportive services. This approach that has been proven to be significantly less costly than life on the street or in shelters.

United Way has also gathered 1,000 signatures to support the McKinney-Vento homeless bill, signed into law by President Obama, which provides millions of dollars in funding for programs that support that fight to end homelessness.

To improve educational achievement, United Way launched its seminal Middle School Report, spotlighting research around this critical transition period and its connection to high school graduation rates.

Leveraging the insights from the report, United Way is focusing on key areas that impact middle school academic achievement. These include leadership programs for principals to set the standard for teachers, engage parents and impact student performance; creating after-school programs to provide an untapped opportunity to improve academic achievement; and driving parents and schools to work together to directly impact students' ability to succeed.

To increase financial stability among Los Angeles residents, United Way leveraged workforce development and job training programs to promote career development and strong incomes.

Tax education and preparation provide financial and asset-building tools, as well as returning money back to Los Angeles residents (through the earned income tax credit partnership).

Also announced today is the third annual United Way HomeWalk, part of United Way's pledge to end and prevent homelessness.

On Saturday, Nov. 7 United Way aims to attract 5,000 HomeWalk participants and enough funds to move even more people into permanent housing.


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