Program engages volunteers in the distribution of blankets to the homeless 

A Step to Freedom (ASF) a nonprofit transitional living facility for homeless and reentry persons will distribute 10,000 blankets and activate street teams and volunteers to assist unhoused individuals in South Los Angeles, Inglewood, and Downtown Los Angeles in a 3-day homeless outreach, Nov. 11 through 13. 

The event will start at ASF offices at 166 W. 80th St., Los Angeles.

 “Having the Los Angeles Chargers join our fight against homelessness is exciting. Their willingness to get involved in the community in such a significant way is huge. They recognized the importance of the work we are doing and didn’t concentrate on the size of our organization but saw the passion we have for the people in the community and our determination to effect change,” said Kenya Kirkland, executive director of ASF.   

“This is more than just a giving event, Warm the Streets is a reflection of the homeless crisis in South Los Angeles and the need for organizations to work outside of their normal programs to reach those most vulnerable,” said Kirkland. “It’s about human lives and dismantling racial disparities affecting Black people experiencing homelessness in underserved communities.” 

Kirkland says giving a blanket is a gesture to say “someone cares and we see you.” 

Homelessness is not a new issue. Skid Row has been around since the 1880s when White migrant laborers seeking jobs in Los Angeles built makeshift homes in the area. For a century Skid Row was made up of older, single, White men, many of whom were battling alcoholism. Then the face of homelessness changed. Factors like the affordable housing crisis, growing unemployment rate, lack of mental health services, deterioration of the social safety net, and Los Angeles’ history of redlining resulted in African-Americans and Latinos making up the overwhelming majority of homeless individuals. 

A 2021 report by the UCLA Luskin Center for History Policy states that Black people have been “disproportionately represented among the Los Angeles homeless population and continue to be four times more likely to experience homelessness.”  

At this weekend’s event, A Step to Freedom team members will be joined by representatives from Supervisor Holly Mitchell’s office; Councilman Curren Price Jr.; along with volunteers and additional invited guests as they confirm.    

To learn more, or to register a group, visit the ASF website for additional information: https://asteptofreedom.org/pages/warm-the-streets-la.

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