Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) January 2, 2011

“Helping the homeless is an event which is not limited to Christmas and Hanukkah,” says respected philanthropist and businessman Richard Maize.

“The homeless can be you or me. To be homeless does not mean that one is a loser, a drug addict or a psychological misfit. If one is out of work, cannot pay the mortgage and has no family nearby, he or she could be waiting for one of these blankets.”

The Rochelle and Richard Maize Foundation is now dedicating much of their efforts in creating a public awareness campaign which will illustrate the suffering of our nation’s homeless.

Recently, the nation’s homeless population came to the media forefront as a few in the City of New Orleans sought shelter in abandoned buildings and perished in a fire.

The homeless have a number of reasons why they are unwilling or unable to seek shelter elsewhere.

“If it get too cold, I’m going to a building. If it starts raining, I’m going to a building. That’s the only choice I have to keep from being on the streets,” said Ernest Davis, who planned to sleep outside the New Orleans Mission last night.

David said he couldn’t afford the $ 5 cost of sleeping in the shelter. He said he may have to light a fire in an abandoned building to keep himself warm if the temperature drops.

It’s a concern for city officials in LA, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Hartford, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. – cities across the US in the aftermath of Tuesday’s tragic fire that claimed the lives of eight young transients staying in an abandoned warehouse.

Rochelle and Richard Maize first became aware of the plight of the homeless through the Green Youth Movement.

“I try to get down to the corner of La Brea and Santa Monica in Hollywood once a week,” says Richard Maize.

Maize states that this is an area where homeless people gather to get regular evening meals donated by local restaurants and are handed out to the poor and homeless by volunteers.”

“My participation is not an organized function, but something that anyone can do at any time to help those less fortunate,” says Richard Maize. “I found myself in downtown Los Angeles the other day and thought I might take the time to visit the shopping area in the fashion district known as the ‘Alley’. It was here that I thought it might be nice to buy some things that I could give away to help brighten the holidays and the 2011 New Year for a few people.”

Richard Maize continues: “You meet all kinds of interesting people doing this and they all have a story to tell.”

“There was one man that was an educated guy who lost everything when the company he worked for went out of business. He lost his pension and he could not get a job. He collected unemployment for as long as he could but found that no one wanted to hire an aging out of work guy when they could hire someone fresh out of college for much less of an investment with more of a long term upside.”

“Even when he said that he was prepared to work for far less than he had been making he was unable to compete with the younger job seekers,” said Richard Maize. “Things went from bad to worse and eventually he found himself out on the street. Poverty and the homeless situation is so bad here in Los Angeles and in New York, Boston, Miami, Chicago, Newark, Philadelphia – throughout the US due to a bad economy and a severe recession.”

“So many of these people just need a little help to get themselves going again,” says Maize. “One hopes that the little we did will give someone the incentive to do more for themselves. Maybe some new clothes will lift someone’s spirit enough that they might feel they can present themselves better for a job interview. If everybody could help just a little it would make a huge difference.”

Richard Maize, when asked why he goes out of his way and makes the time and effort to be a humanitarian on a cold, winter’s night, says that the reason is that Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year are a time of giving and makes one think about the less fortunate.

“The other reason is the most obvious. My little contribution can and usually does make a big difference to these poor people,” says Richard Maize. “And third, it makes me feel so good about what I am doing. I often leave wondering if I am doing this to help the less fortunate or just a really great way to make me feel better as a human being.”

“My advice to others during the holidays and the coming 2011 New Year time is giving and doing something wonderful such as feeding or clothing the homeless. These people are suffering throughout the entire year and should be considered not just during the Christmas and Hanukkah New Year season, but every month, week and day.”

Richard Maize concludes: “As important as providing the homeless with food, drinks, clothes and a clean bed to stay, is just one simple thing. A warm smile and a hug to say that you are not alone.”

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness between five and six hundred thousand people are considered “homeless” at any given time – without a “permanent, safe, decent, affordable place to live”. Homelessness in America persists in part because many urban areas remain economically depressed, housing costs have risen rapidly in the past decade, and wages for lower skilled workers have remained stable.

The most proximate cause of homelessness in America is poverty.

Statistics show between twenty and thirty percent of homeless families surveyed in 1996 said they had gone without food for part of the previous month. The homeless also face persistent deprivation and constant threat of harm. They spend more time in the hospital and in jail than their poor counterparts. The majority are victims of violent crimes, and one fourth lack needed medical care.

Children in homeless families do worse in school and have lower attendance and more long-term absences.

The Rochelle and Richard Maize Foundation is a philanthropic organization that supports and contributes volunteer and financial resources to causes locally in the community and worldwide by supporting meaningful programs focusing on art, culture, family services and health care that work to help people live more fulfilling lives.

Richard Maize, a respected leader in the mortgage banking real estate industry, and a mentor to young entrepreneurs, has generously supported organizations and causes including the American Cancer Society, Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, Hurricane Katrina, Los Angeles Police Foundation, USO, Haiti earthquake relief efforts, Israel Flying Aid, Maccabiah Jewish Olympic Games and the Cedars Sinai Board of Governors.

Richard Maize and his wife, Rochelle Maize, are longtime benefactors of many other non-profit organizations and Richard Maize has been recognized for his efforts on behalf of more than a dozen charitable groups and community projects.

The Rochelle and Richard Maize Foundation supports an extraordinary number of foundations, organizations, and non-profit groups.