SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Tuesday was a big night for a national nonprofit that helps the homeless. Back on My Feet held a gala fundraiser to celebrate the launch of its San Francisco chapter.
The event was held at the Marriott in downtown San Francisco. Milton S. Williams was recognized at the fundraiser and says the nonprofit has made a difference in his life.
The 51-year-old is homeless and has been staying at shelters.
"I've been employed the whole time, but it's been a challenge financially," says Williams.
He originally came to San Francisco from Jacksonville, Florida as a professional tennis umpire, but the work is seasonal, making it difficult to afford stable housing.
"Part of that work has taken me out of the city at times. I am housed while I'm on the road, but when I'm home, it's been difficult income wise. There just hasn't been enough income to settle into my own place," says Williams.
He credits Back on My Feet with helping him change course.
The nonprofit's CEO says corporate sponsors and individual donors at the fundraiser have made it possible for the group to help the homeless.
The program requires participants to run three times a week at 5:30 a.m. with the group to learn discipline. In turn, the nonprofit connects them with job training and housing resources.
"What we're looking to do now is work with the city. Work with the affordable housing and the opportunities out here and figure out how we can bring our partners our supporters to that to create a partnership that gets our members into sustainable housing," says Katy Sherratt, Back on My Feet’s CEO.
The nonprofit recently helped Williams get a new job washing dishes and training for a culinary career.
"I have to save money and prepare the transition of new housing so I'm very excited about this new journey of moving forward," says Williams.
Back on My Feet started in Philadelphia and has been around for 10 years.
The CEO says it has helped more than 6,000 homeless people in 12 major cities across the country.