While strong winds at Los Angeles Family Housing’s 18th annual Awards at first almost threatened to blow the whole event away, the humanitarian spirit of its attendees held strong as the evening came together beautifully. Ice Cube and Zach Braff were among many notable attendees Thursday night at The Lot in West Hollywood as LAFH raised funds and awareness to continue its fight against homelessness in Los Angeles.
Holly Marie Combs, Missi Pyle, and Cameron Boyce were among the other celebrities who walked the yellow carpet before enjoying food from several different Los Angeles restaurants including Button Mash and Trap Kitchen. Afterwards, guests made their way inside for the awards ceremony and charity auction. The event was initially planned to be located on the rooftop at The Lot, but windy weather forced organizers to improvise and move the proceedings to the ground floor, including the reception itself which was held in the parking garage.
LAFH has combated homelessness in Los Angeles by providing housing for families who have found themselves without a home. Ice Cube, who was honored at the event alongside Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission chair Wendy Greuel, was effusive about the organization’s cause.
“To some families it’s everything. This organization has been around over three decades, has helped over 6,400 families. I know we hear a lot of numbers, and it’s easy to throw those numbers around, but you just think about all those people. This organization has helped all those people,” the hip-hop artist said. “So it’s really all about doing what you can. I can never do as much as LAFH, but I can do my part and we all can do our part.”
After joking about the difficulty the event went through with the heavy winds, Ice Cube told Variety what it meant to him on the carpet. “I’m honored to be honored,” Cube said. “These are the people that inspire me. So, since I’m getting the Inspiration Award, I feel like giving it out to a few people that are in the audience because a lot of people are dealing with tough situations and still keep their head up, and it inspires me.”
Blair Rich, president of worldwide marketing at Warner Bros. and chair of the event, echoed Cube’s enthusiasm for the organization’s cause. “I truly don’t understand why children should have to be homeless in our city. There’s no reason for it,” she said. “This perception that it’s this unsolvable, insurmountable problem is actually not true. That’s a myth.”
Rich continued, “I think we have an obligation to take care of our own, and part of it is that we owe it to our city and to our fellow citizens to build more permanent, affordable housing, to meet the homelessness epidemic head-on, and to take care of each other. LAFH has a unique and proven method that is just an enormous part of the solution. We have a 92% success rate in permanently breaking the homeless cycle for our clients, but really what that means is that thousands of families every year have a place to call home instead of living in cars or on motel vouchers or on the streets.”
Rich, who at the end of the evening exclaimed that it had been the most successful fundraising event in the organization’s history, also talked about the importance of all the celebrities who came out and supported the event.
“We’re very blessed to have a lot of notable people here tonight, but the truth is that once people are exposed to LAFH, it’s honestly not that hard to ask,” Rich said. “People like Ice Cube, people like Zach Braff. They are here because they understand the work that we’re doing and they also understand that this isn’t a Hollywood event per se. We are fundamentally about the people that we serve and our purpose and our goal to help those people. We don’t spend a fortune on this event. An enormous amount of the services here are donated. We have an enormous return on investment of money going directly back into helping our families and building infrastructure.”
The dinner gala raised more than $1.2 million for the charity.
(Pictured: Ice Cube and Warner Bros.’ Blair Rich)