2020 Grants Challenge

Combatting Homelessness One Mile at a Time

We will increase our impact on the population experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County in moving them toward self-sufficiency, by reconnecting them with their community and guiding them in obtaining sustainable employment. We provide workforce development opportunities that deepen existing abilities and provide new skills to our members, which increases their chances for employment and helps each reach his/her/their full potential. Our current success can easily be built upon with additional resources and funding.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

Homelessness has escalated into a full-blown crisis in Los Angeles County. According to the LA Homeless Services Authority, at least 60,000 people are currently homeless, three quarters of whom live on the streets.

We recruit members at partner facilities such as Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row, and The Salvation Army ARC facility in Santa Monica. Members commit to run three mornings a week at 5:30am, with our volunteer runners, as a team. After 30 days, members with 90% attendance earn the opportunity to move into our Next Steps Program, which provides workforce development in the form of financial literacy training, resume writing classes, interview skills workshops, and regular one on one case management support at office hours. Finally, we provide access to employment partnerships and housing resources. Our members gain independence in an environment that promotes accountability, compassion, and hope.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

Back on My Feet revolutionizes the way society approaches homelessness. Our unique running-based program demonstrates that if you first restore confidence, strength, and self-esteem, individuals are better equipped to tackle the road ahead and move toward jobs, homes and new lives. Running raises endorphins, teaches discipline, and offers accomplishments in the midst of bleak circumstances.

Members run alongside dedicated volunteers with diverse backgrounds. Regardless of age, race, or history, our team members bond and build a profound sense of community. Our consistent runs are transformative experiences for members, particularly those assimilating back into society after experiencing incarceration or street homelessness.

Since launching in LA in 2013, we have served more than 700 members, who have run a collective of 55,000 miles, and obtained more than 202 jobs and 167 homes. Within six months of becoming Back on My Feet Alumni, 83% of members maintain their employment.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 300

Indirect Impact: -

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Back on My Feet relies on more than 200 volunteers to create a safe community. We change community’s perception of homelessness by providing a hands on program where supporters can experience the immediate personal impact they make on lives of our most vulnerable community members.

Numbers of family members impacted by our work is immeasurable. Homelessness is an isolating experience, and many of our members have been secluded from family contacts for a multitude of reasons. Outcomes of our programming move our members closer to overcoming obstacles - legal, financial, and personal - and we witness countless members who reunite with family (including children), once they become financially, physically, and mentally healthy.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Long Term:

Success is having Los Angeles shed the title of homeless capital of the country, and change stereotypes surrounding homelessness.

Short Term:

Expand our programming to two new partner facilities. Our success will be measured by how many individuals cross the finish line in obtaining sustainable employment.

We take a holistic approach to getting our members back on their feet. This includes providing financial aid grants to members for expenses that have historically been barriers to securing employment or housing such as transportation to new jobs, security deposits, tuition, and work clothes. Additionally we can purchase a key ingredient for our program - running gear and race entries for our members.

Other ways we track success:

* Number of new member sign ups

* Number of members in attendance per run

* Number of volunteers in attendance per run

* Total miles run per member and as a facility team

* Tracking pace of a mile run (This is key because it demonstrates to members the tangible results of their hard work.)

* Number of members in Next Steps programming

* Number of alumni members

* Members transitioned who secured work

* Members graduated from the program

Which of the LIVE metrics will your submission impact?​

Resilient communities


Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Host public events or gatherings

Office space for meetings, events, or for staff

Strategy assistance and implementation