'Welcome Home Project' helps LA homeless get back on their feet

VAN NUYS, Calif. (KABC) -- Hundreds of volunteers Saturday helped deliver care baskets to formerly homeless Angelinos moving into their new homes. It was all part of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's "Welcome Home Project."

It was the start of a new chapter for single dad Joseph Newton, of Van Nuys.

After years without a home, Newton recently moved into a Nan Nuys apartment with the help of L.A. Family Housing. On Saturday, he received baskets full of necessities from Garcetti.

"It just gives me confidence. It shows me that people do care, and all you need is a chance to get going again," Newton said with tears in his eyes.

"To me, there's no better feeling than walking into that place and seeing them, and the joy and the hope and the aspirations and the dreams that are back in their hands," Garcetti said.

That hope was also extended to Newton's daughter, Chantel. The second-year Santa Monica College student was offered a potential new opportunity on the spot - an internship at the mayor's office.

"I'm trying to better my life and help my dad when I get older, so just being offered that, it's unbelievable," Chantel Newton added. "I'm going to call him tomorrow."

The Welcome Home Project was designed to open a dialogue about homelessness in L.A., and to help those starting over.

During Saturday's move-in, hundreds of baskets were delivered around the city.

In addition to the baskets stuffed with household goods, recipients also got letters filled with Lyft and Uber coupons.

Earlier in the day, volunteers gathered at a Reseda Islamic center, ready to distribute some of the more than 400 baskets put together days prior to the event.

Volunteer Willie Macc, who was once homeless, said he knows how much these household basics mean to people getting back on their feet.

The Newtons said this experience has brought them closer than ever and has truly given them a fresh start.

"By going through this, I really see this truly is the city of angels," Joseph Newton said.
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