- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 12, 2009

As the weather gets colder, Fannie Mae’s Help the Homeless Program

is asking Washington-area residents to show their warm hearts by walking to raise awareness of homelessness in the region.

Fannie Mae’s Help the Homeless Program has worked with individuals and organizations for more than 20 years to end homelessness. On Nov. 21, it will sponsor the 22nd annual Help the Homeless Walkathon on the Mall, where “tens of thousands” are expected to turn out, based on past experience.

According to the program’s Web site, the event “can help end homelessness” for many “vulnerable citizens.” All one has to do is pay an entrance fee and walk three miles for the cause. Proceeds benefit local organizations that provide direct services to the homeless, who increasingly are indigent families. The event also encourages community and service groups to volunteer for yearlong programs to prevent and eliminate homelessness.

More than 12,000 homeless people live in the Washington metropolitan area, according to the Help the Homeless Program, and that number is expected to grow in this tight economy, as unemployment figures have reached double digits in some areas, such as Southeast Washington.

Participants are encouraged to sign up along with family and friends or join ongoing efforts in Montgomery and Fairfax counties, Alexandria and the District.

The walkathon will begin at 9 a.m. on the Mall, but registration will open at 7 a.m. To participate in the walkathon or to make a donation, visit www.helpthehomelessdc.org

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