Los Angeles Family Housing’s sixth annual Awards Dinner last Thursday honored Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Santa Monica Councilman Bobby Shriver and developer Mark Weinstein, and raised $600,000 for LAFH, which has assisted 90,000 people since its founding.
The dinner was held at the Universal Studios Globe Theater.
The first speaker was former LAFH client Dorcas Williams of Palmdale who thanked LAFH for her independence.
LAFH board chair George Minter presented the L.A. Family Housing Inspiration Award to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who recently announced an unprecedented $1 billion affordable housing bond for the City of Los Angeles, and earmarked a $50 million increase to the city’s Housing Trust Fund.
Villaraigosa said he was humbled to be in the company of fellow honorees Bobby Shriver and Mark Weinstein and said that the “City of the World” must provide a home for all of its residents. “Los Angeles is not truly working when mothers and children sleep on our streets.”
2001 L.A. Family Housing Legacy Award winner Jeff Lee introduced L.A. Family Housing Legacy Award recipient MJW Investments president Mark Weinstein honored for launching a partnership with LAFH to include 155 affordable housing units at the historic Sears redevelopment project in Boyle Heights.
Matthew Irmas of Santa Monica next introduced the 2005 Sydney M. Irmas Outstanding Humanitarian Award recipient Santa Monica Councilman Bobby Shriver, an attorney who heads the DATA foundation (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), which aims to reduce Third World debt, poverty and illness, and is working locally to develop co-operative regional programs to end homelessness and to house chronic homeless veterans at the Veterans Administration’s West L.A. campus.
Shriver commended his parents, Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver, and the Irmas family, which has been a leading LAFH supporter for two decades, for championing seemingly impossible causes.
“In 1968, people told my mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, that an athletic program for disabled children was impossible. She didn’t listen and the Special Olympics now serve nearly 4 million children in more than 150 countries each year. President Kennedy tapped my dad Sargent Shriver to head the Peace Corps in 1961 and more than 180,000 have served worldwide.”That kind of vision, Shriver said, will end homelessness in Santa Monica, Los Angeles and the country. “We have empty beds in the West Los Angeles Veteran’s Administration buildings, while veterans sleep on the beach in Santa Monica. We must change that,” he said.