Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa have announced the official formation of the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KVBFF), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth and families in need.

Focusing on youth homelessness in Los Angeles as its first initiative, funds raised by the Foundation will support organizations and programs that transform the lives of homeless youth and families by helping to create permanent housing and providing resources for education and career development.

“On my way to games, I noticed children and families living on the streets blocks away from where I play and it didn’t sit well with me,” said Kobe Bryant. “I wanted to help make a difference in homelessness and what better place to start than in my own back yard,” he added.

The Foundation will also encourage community support to join Kobe in the fight to end homelessness in Los Angeles by creating and distributing a PSA campaign, which will be used to educate critical stakeholders and the general public about the issue.

“Los Angeles has the largest homeless population of any metropolitan area in the nation and represents one of our society’s greatest failures,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. “Now is the time to address this challenge by providing permanent, sustainable housing for L.A. County’s most vulnerable homeless.”

Youth homelessness in particular is a major social service issue facing the city. Without successful intervention, homeless youth often become chronically homeless adults. For a variety of reasons, homeless youth, women, and families are not connected to traditional service systems and often end up in dangerous environments with limited access to resources. On Skid Row alone, there are more homeless than there are in the entire city of San Francisco, many of them under 18 years of age.

“There are approximately 9,500 homeless youth under the age of 24 living on the streets of Los Angeles each year. Regardless of what has brought these youth to the streets, they deserve the opportunity to realize their potential,” said Heather Carmichael, Executive Director of My Friend’s Place, a Hollywood-based non-profit that assists homeless youth in building self-sufficient lives. “Homelessness is a major issue for Los Angeles. On any given night, some 48,000 individuals are living on the streets of L.A.” added Tod Lipka, President and CEO of Step Up on Second.

The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation will cultivate and solicit major donor prospects. With pledges of support from local philanthropists, the Foundation will also work with the above-mentioned Step Up On Second, a Santa-Monica based nonprofit which has served the homeless population since 1984, to support the construction of permanent housing.

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