When the world as we know it changed for many of us in March 2020, so did the lives of the more than 66,000 individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County, who had nowhere to shelter in place from the deadly Novel Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Although homelessness has been a critical issue in the county for many years, COVID-19 added urgency to the work already being done to find effective solutions for our neighbors living on the street.
Torrance Refinery has been a long-term supporter of ending homelessness through its community partner, United Way of Greater Los Angeles (UWGLA), which has remained steadfast in their efforts to find ways to bring neighbors off sidewalks and into housing. Despite the challenges the virus has delivered, UWGLA hosted its annual HomeWalk 5k event virtually this year to bring greater awareness to this issue and raise funds to support affordable housing with the support services needed for our most vulnerable neighbors.
Torrance Refinery was one of the first supporters of HomeWalk, since the fundraiser began 13 years ago, and continued its long-standing support in 2020. This year, Refinery employees raised more than $3,000, which will be doubled thanks to a matching grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
“Homelessness is a complex issue that can affect any one of us at any time,” said Community Relations Advisor Gesuina Lafayette who served on UWGLA’s 2020 HomeWalk Steering Committee. We are seeing that happen this year with the impacts of COVID-19; so many families are on the brink of eviction and job loss, and at risk of falling into homelessness. While we all feel the uncertainty and challenges this year has brought, I, along with my co-workers recognize how fortunate we are and are happy to do what we can to help others.
The campaign has raised more than $586,000 thus far, with fundraising continuing until December 31, 2020. The public is welcome to join the Refinery’s HomeWalk team and make a donation in support of ending homelessness. Please visit https://secure.qgiv.com/event/homewalk2020/team/860232/ for more information us on “the walk.” Any amount will help our neighbors in need.
To learn more about United Way’s efforts to address homelessness here in LA County, please visit: www.unitedwayla.org.