|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Monday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||December 18, 2000|
CELEBRITIES, DIGNITARIES JOIN SECRETARY CUOMO FOR THE NEW YORK PREMIERE OF HUDS PUT A FACE ON HOMELESSNESS CAMPAIGN
NEW YORK In a city where famous faces are seen everyday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this evening unveiled more than 20 celebrity public service announcements as part of its Put a Face on Homelessness media campaign. The campaign is part of HUDs on-going effort to highlight the plight of the nations homeless and encourage more Americans to become involved in helping the homeless become self-sufficient.
Actors William Baldwin, Chris Noth, Mandy Patinkin, Annabella Sciorra and fashion celebrities Christie Brinkley and Frederique Van der Wal joined HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo for the New York premiere of the PSAs during HUDs second annual December to Remember event. Other dignitaries attending the event included U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli, U.S. Representatives Joseph Crowley, Nita Lowey, Gregory Meeks, Charles Rangel and Anthony Weiner, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, U.S. Customs Service Commissioner Ray Kelly, City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Public Advocate Mark Green, Childrens Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman, CUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Herman Badillo, entertainer Willie Colon and union officials Dennis Rivera and Daniel Persons. HUDs homeless campaign encourages the private sector, nonprofit organizations and individuals to make the last month of the year a December to remember by committing to help homeless people through donations, volunteering, mentoring, or other service-related activities."Though we do not always see them, every night some 600,000 Americans too many of our nations adults and children -- are homeless," Cuomo said. "As our economy has surged, the homelessness have faded from the public eye. We cant stand by and let this happen. Just last year we released a report that concluded when homeless people get housing assistance and other support services, the majority of them are able to once again lead productive lives. Intervention is the key to turning their lives around." "We are too great a country to watch from the sidelines while so many people struggle to survive another day on the street," actor Chris Noth said. "We all need to contribute any way we can." "I think many of us have become so accustomed to seeing homeless people, that we have simply come to accept homelessness as a fact of life," actress Annabella Sciorra said. "But the truth is, we shouldnt accept it. We can do better as a nation, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to participate in HUDs PSA campaign. I believe we can make a difference.""You can't live the good life and feel good about it unless you participate in helping others. Given a variety of circumstances, any of us could end up without a home. It is a sobering thought," said fashion model and actress Frederique Van der Wal. "I think giving back to the community is the right thing to do."HUDs Put a Face on Homelessness PSAs urge Americans to get involved by calling 1-800-HUD-1010 for a listing of homeless agencies in their communities in need of volunteers. The Ad Council is promoting the public service announcements this holiday season. In addition, the CBS, NBC and ABC television networks and the Lifetime Channel have agreed to begin airing the public service announcements in the coming weeks and through the winter. The PSAs will run in both 10-second and 30-second versions. In one version of the PSAs, the celebrity says: "Many people recognize my face. But there are thousands of men, women and children who we walk past every day, but really never see. They are the invisible, the faceless, the homeless. Walking past them won't solve the problem. They need our help. This winter, put a face on homelessness. Call or go online to learn about an award-winning HUD program that's helping homeless people in your community. "Cuomo thanked all of the celebrities involved in making the PSAs, including William Baldwin, Christie Brinkley, Matthew Broderick, Glenn Close, Ted Danson, David Dinkins, Roma Downey, Heather French, Whoopi Goldberg, Roy Jones Jr., Kevin Kline, Heidi Klum, Nathan Lane, Chris Noth, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mandy Patinkin, Oliver Platt, Ray Romano, Annabella Sciorra, Martin Sheen, Daniel Stern, and Frederique Van der Wal. He also thanked those who have committed to taping a PSA including Gillian Anderson, Marlee Matlin and singer Macy Gray. Production of the PSAs is being funded by the Ford Foundation through the Council for Excellence in Government, which sponsors an annual competition to recognize outstanding government performance. HUDs Continuum of Care program won the prestigious Harvard University/Ford Foundation Innovations in American Government Award in 1999.
At the event, participants recognized Cuomo
for his role in bringing to fruition HUDs award-winning Continuum
of Care homelessness program, which is being implemented in communities
across the U.S. to help homeless people find housing, get jobs and rebuild
their lives. They also recognized the many homeless service organizations
working to end homelessness throughout the country.