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YMCA employees walk more than a hundred miles to raise awareness for youth homelessness

Two local YMCA employees are walking from Los Angeles County to San Diego County using only their feet and public transportation to raise awareness for homelessness.

SAN DIEGO — Two local YMCA employees are making their way from Los Angeles County to San Diego County using only their feet and public transportation.

The 125-mile journey was said to raise awareness about the youth homelessness crisis.

Justin Lipford and David Baker left Long Beach on Monday.

They planned to end up in San Ysidro Friday.

"Love every minute, every second of it, but also a little tired, a little sore, but we're just pushing forward," said Lipford.

The two are traveling just like a homeless person would.

"The journey involves walking, taking buses, figuring the fastest ways to cut through routes just to get where we need to go," said Lipford.

Along the way, they planned to chat with community members and elected officials to draw attention to the homeless crisis, specifically the youth.

California has the highest number of young people experiencing homelessness in the country.

Both men say if you can help homeless people when they're young will keep them from living on the streets later in life.

"We're working with these young people at a pivotal time in their life where things can go right or wrong, and so instilling and installing those supports and ensuring these young people have a safe place to go is crucial," said Baker.

The men work with homeless youth at the YMCA, which offers services that can help connect homeless youth to jobs and housing.

Those impacted include foster kids who have aged out of the system and members of the LGBTQ community, who are often forced to leave home without a place to go.

“There are so many things that go on in the lives of our young people who are being rejected from their homes for their identity and political and social-emotional beliefs,” said Baker.

For Baker, this issue is personal as he, too, was once homeless.

"In and out of shelters. A lot of schools. It wasn't until I was 21 that I could plant my feet on the ground and get that foundation to grow and prosper," said Baker.

Now, he wants others in his old shoes to be able to do the same.

So, with each step, that's what he and Lipford are trying to do, saying while some believe San Diego's homeless problem is far too big to fix, they want to prove otherwise.

If you want to be connected to the YMCA's services, click here.

WATCH RELATED: Youth homelessness is a growing problem in San Diego County (2021)

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