Local government officials, homeless advocates and families who will soon have an opportunity to find permanent housing joined representatives of Santa Monica-based Upward Bound House for its one-year anniversary April 16 at the organization’s Family Shelter.

The event was catered by The Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey and Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl joined Upward Bound Executive Director David Snow in paying tribute to all of the corporate partners who have assisted the non-profit over the years.

The nonprofit organization was founded in 1991 to help mitigate the affordable housing crisis on the Westside of Los Angeles. The organization’s target populations are homeless families with minor children and very low-income seniors.

Snow said The Ritz-Carlton has been one of the best examples of a company that believes in Upward Bound’s mission. “They are a model of corporate citizens for others to emulate,” he said.

Last month, Fredrece and Bernard Williams and their five children connected with a group of homeless volunteers in Westchester and were soon situated in two rooms at the shelter, where they are currently awaiting approval to move into permanent housing.

Rosendahl praised Upward Bound as a place where families who are in a transitional phase of their lives can stay temporarily until they find housing. “Let’s just face the reality of the day,” the councilman began. “We’re living in a world where the gap between the rich and poor, even in our great nation, gets larger everyday and some people fall off the fast train and get on the edge.

“And what does a great nation do? It picks everybody up and brings them together, and thank God there are organizations like Upward Bound to help pick people up who need a helping hand.”

Kim Williams (no relation to Fredrece and Bernard) and her son recently arrived at the Family Shelter after being homeless for five years on the Westside. Through the St. Joseph Center in Venice, they learned about the opportunities at Upward Bound.

“We were at the end of the road when we found them,” said Kim Williams, who has also recently found a new job. “(Upward Bound) has been a godsend.”

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