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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — He’s known for the long strides he makes on the basketball court. Today, Los Angeles Lakers all-star guard Kobe Bryant made strides with 10,000 people who want to take a stand against the problem of homelessness in LA.
Bryant led the crowd through Exposition Park for the sixth annual “HomeWalk to End Homelessness” in Los Angeles County, organizers said.
Bryant was the honorary chairman of the five-kilometer run and walk for the second year in a row. The walk is part of the United Way’s campaign to end poverty in Los Angeles County.
“Kobe Bryant has helped us reach more residents concerned about fighting homelessness and the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation has done great work with homeless children,” said Elise Buik, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles.
Bryant has been a tireless advocate for ending the homeless problem in LA and despite his high-profile he concedes it’s an issue “that’s kind of faded into the background.”
HomeWalk hoped to raise more than $700,000, according to publicist Jennifer Conway. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation said they would match every donation of $100 or more.
Proceeds from the walk support groups that find permanent housing for homeless veterans and others.
According to statistics provided by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles County is the nation’s homeless capital, with 51,000 people on the streets or in shelters.
Bryant wants to raise awareness on how easy it is for a person to become homeless.
“Some of them just because of discrimination, some because of a death in the family and all of a sudden they don’t have anyone to take care of them,” Bryant said. “Some of them made bad decisions and all of a sudden here they are, they need help getting out of that situation.”
Bryant said, “There’s a lot that needs to be done, there’s a lot of understanding that needs to go into it.”