Hollywood Supports the Homeless at L.A. Family Housing Awards

Eric Charbonneau/Invision for LAFH/AP Images
Blair Rich and P.J. Byrne

The organization hit a fundraising record with a total of over $1 million for deserving families.

The entertainment industry came together for the Los Angeles Family Housing Awards on Thursday night at The Lot in West Hollywood.

Event co-chair Blair Rich, Warner Bros. executive vp marketing, mingled with Warner Bros. president of worldwide marketing and international distribution Sue Kroll and actress Ashley Greene in an intimate courtyard setting to bring awareness to the thousands of children and adults who are living homeless in Los Angeles.

"We have a tremendously wealthy successful community, and there are 6,000 kids who will sleep on the streets tonight," said Rich. "I can't live with that, and I'm trying to convince other people that they don't have to either."

Industry executives enjoyed an outside cocktail reception to the sounds of KOVAS while sampling cuisine such as grilled lamb chops, lasagna verde and arugula salad from Angelini Osteria and lemon rosemary madeleine cookies from Big Sugar Cake Shop. Other participating restaurants included Kali Dining, Animal, Global Cuisine and Greenspan's Grilled Cheese.

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Kroll looks forward to the event every year. She claimed that you never know when you or someone you know may lose everything they have.

"This could happen to anyone, and this organization brought that to my attention in a way that I hadn't really thought about, "said Kroll.

P.J. Byrne hosted the evening featuring a live auction and success stories of families who have benefited from receiving shelter when they found themselves homeless. "A lot of people stand up for homelessness -- you guys sit down, and we want to reward you for it," joked Byrne.

L.A. Family Housing (LAFH) has a 92 percent record in placing families in permanent independent housing. LAFH also provides a range of medical and social services that follows their clients after they have housing.

The organization hit a new fundraising record, where the $1 million raised surpassed the $900,000 total earned last year. Four guests donated $5,200 each, providing the necessary resources to move one family into permanent housing.

Guests also bid during the live auction on packages, including The Lego Movie package of three life-size official standees, Legoland tickets with hotel stay and a private screening of the film at the Chinese Theatre that went for $5,000. A trip to the Horrible Bosses 2 premiere in Los Angeles went for $2,000.

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Other guests in attendance included Magic Mike actress Cody Horn, producer Kevin McCormick, production executive of New Line Cinema David Neustadter, and actors Arlen Escarpeta, Nathan Kress and Matt Walsh.

L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky received the Sydney M. Irmas Outstanding Humanitarian Award from event co-chair Matthew Irmas and LAFH resident April Garcia, who served in the U.S. Army for 11 years. Like Garcia, 18 percent of the homeless in the streets of L.A. are veterans of the U.S. military.

"The way to end homelessness is to give people homes," stated Yaroslavsky. "If you want to end homelessness on a permanent basis, then you've got to deal with the prominent issues that face these individuals, and they're all great people."