Officials with the Salvation Army announced a major campaign to combat homelessness across Southern California which will double its capacity to house and feed the homeless over the next five years.
That means providing beds and meals for thousands of men, women and families currently living on the streets.
There's an estimated 50,000 homeless people living across the region and it's an issue that the 154-year-old organization wants to address. in southern California. it's become an issue that the one hundred and fifty four year old organization wants to reduce.
Their ambitious initiative is called "Way Out." However, it's unclear how much the program will cost.
The Salvation Army currently serves about 2,000 people every night, and that has to increase, said Commissioner Kenneth Hodder. But officials are hoping others will help out.
"It's going to take money.There's no question about that. But we're hopeful that we will be able to enlist the support of municipalities, and the county and individuals and corporations because together we believe that a tremendous dent can be made in the problem," Hodder said.
At a forum Friday at its shelter in the city of Bell, former homeless men and women talked about what it's going to take to get people, including families, off the streets.
Martha Varela says she's very thankful for the the organization's program for veterans.
"I was able to get housing assistance because for about two months I was living in and out of my car with my 12-year-old," she said.
So when you see the bell ringers and the red buckets this holiday season, the Salvation Army is asking you to give a little bit more to help with their initiative.