Home Again L.A. Brews & Boots BBQ Raises Money to End Homelessness

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Home Again Los Angeles (HALA) held their 10th annual gala on Friday, May 10th at the Autry Museum of the American West with over 400 guests in attendance in support of the organization. HALA’s Brews & Boots BBQ was a huge success with community leaders, dignitaries, local organizations, and supporters attending the Autry in cowboy hats and western boots, ready to raise money in the fight to end homelessness.

The non-profit homeless service agency, HALA, works in Burbank, Glendale, and San Fernando in an effort to provide rapid housing to homeless families with children. Since it’s opening in 2010, HALA has helped mobilize 2,000 families from the streets and cars into permanent housing.

HALA CEO Albert Hernandez greeted guests at the podium and shared that HALA had received an abundance of calls and emails from households during the writer’s strike last year, and how their organization quickly jumped into action, providing groceries and a sense of hope for those families in need. 

In December, HALA opened their third office in the city of San Fernando to provide stabilization services to many families facing eviction. “If HALA has the resources, the bandwidth, the knowledge of effectively serving those in need, then let’s share that with other cities who need support,” said Hernandez. 

“Imagine for a moment, the anguish of a parent who cannot provide a roof over their child’s head, the despair of a child who goes to bed hungry, or the loneliness of a family torn apart by circumstances beyond their control. This is the harsh reality faced by far too many families today,” added Hernandez. “But amidst this darkness, there shines a light of hope and that light is Home Again L.A. Through our tireless efforts and unwavering commitment, we have provided shelter and support to countless homeless families, helping them rebuild their lives and reclaim their dignity. We have provided more than a roof over their head. We have provided a haven where families can heal, grow and thrive. We have offered more than just a meal on a table. We provided nourishment for the body and soul. And most importantly, we have offered more than just charity. We have provided empathy, a sense of belonging and stability.”

Their annual gala is a way to raise money for their ongoing and growing services, so they can continue eradicating homelessness, one family at a time. The event featured raffle baskets, a live auction, bar, photo op, and more. A delicious BBQ buffet was provided by Tammy and Steve Mora of Metropolitan Culinary Services that included mesquite chicken, a 15 hour smoked brisket, huckleberry BBQ ribs, and all the sides to go with it.

Former NBC Weathercaster and unofficial Mayor of Toluca Lake, Fritz Coleman, emceed the event, welcoming guests up to the stage with humor. Assemblymember Laura Friedman was also in attendance and presented HALA with an Assembly Resolution that was accepted by Hernandez.

The City of Burbank was honored at the event with the 2024 Impact Award which was presented by Senator Anthony J. Portantino. Burbank has been a steadfast partner to HALA and provided funding and resources so that HALA can continue to deliver critical programs. Currently the City of Burbank has begun negotiating with HALA to renovate the former Fire Station #13 as HALA’s new headquarters. “You don’t get things done without having partners, without having a local government that understands how important this mission is,” said Senator Portantino.

Mayor Nick Schultz, Vice Mayor Nikki Perez, and City Manager Justin Hess, accepted the award on behalf of the city. “We’re all here tonight because we’re really bound by one common belief system, and that is that we dare to dream of a world where homelessness really is a relic of the past. Where in every community, you can truly say that we have a bed for every head, where we are compassionate, and effective in our response, and we’re only able to do that because of organizations like Home Again L.A,” said Mayor Schultz.

The 2024 Hands on, Hearts In Award was presented to Barbara Lazar who worked as the City of Burbank Senior Planner for over 30 years, and served on the HALA board for seven years after retirement. She was instrumental in developing the organization and her work lives on through HALA and the impact they continue to make in so many lives.  Her children Oren, Donna, and Maya accepted the award on her behalf.

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