The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority estimates the number of people experiencing homelessness at close to 47,000. It's a sharp rise from last year's 44,359 count, growing an approximate 5.7%. Homelessness is a constant issue nationwide, but in the city of L.A. it has steadily increased since 2013; leaving local officials scrambling to identify a solution. As officials seek answers, one sneakerhead is making a difference through his own unique way.
In the short, directed by Sean Ryon of the digital media company NationSwell, titled "The Sneaker Saint," Rikki Mendias, who is behind the nonprofit organization Hav A Sole, is documented as he touches the lives of those thousands stranded on the streets of L.A. Instead of doing the norm, he supplies thousands of homeless in the area with quality sneakers (Air Jordans, Nike Air Maxes, etc.) to prevent them from dealing with foot disorders and injuries.
"It's been an honor to film this documentary with Rikki, his mom Wendy, and the whole Hav a Sole team," said Ryon to REVOLT about the short that continues to make waves online. "It's such a simple idea — getting good quality footwear in the hands of those who need it the most. But you really start to see just how impactful it is when you watch it unfold in front of the camera," he continued. "It's about stepping outside of yourself from a brief moment to help those less fortunate. It's about offering the dignity of a choice to people who've been denied it for so long. And none of this happens without the hard work and genuine passion of Rikki."
The man of the hour also shared similar sentiments. "The fact that Sean would want to fly out to L.A. and tell Hav a Sole story is incredible," Mendias shared. "His film comes at the perfect time as we continue to grow. He told our story so well and with so much compassion."
To find out more about Mendias' mission through Hav A Sole, head here.
Watch "The Sneaker Saint" below.