The first ever Honor & Glory 5K Fun Run and Walk To End Veteran Homelessness will be held Saturday, June 8th, at Chaffee Crossing.

The race begins at 7:30 a.m. at Wells Lake. Pre-Registration Entry fee is $25 and the first 200 people who sign up will receive a free t-shirt. After May 17th, the entry fee is $30.

Proceeds from the race will go to The Next Step Homeless Services (formerly the Next Step Day Room). The Next Step Homeless Services operates the Buddy Smith Home, a supportive home focusing on military veterans, which opened in May 2012. With the completion of this project, the Fort Smith area has an important resource in helping our homeless male veterans return "home."

Homelessness is a serious challenge for veterans returning from service, according to Gary Udouj, vice president of The Next Step. Sadly, 14 to 18% of all homeless individuals in the Fort Smith area are military veterans.

"The fun run and walk will be great way for people of all ages and abilities to show their support for our community’s homeless veterans," Udouj. "We want to encourage walkers and beginning runners to join us in supporting The Next Step Homeless Services and to help us improve and expand the services available in Fort Smith to help homeless veterans."

To fill out the registration form and to pay the registration fee go to The Next Step Homeless Services Web site at www.TheNextStepfs.org.

Early Check­In: Friday, June 7th from 4­7pm at Fort Smith Adult Education Center, 501 S. 20th St.

Check­In Day of Race Begins at 6:30am at Race Start Location

Medals will be given to overall 1st, 2nd, 3rd in the 5K. Door Prize Drawings will be for Participants of 5K.

The Buddy Smith Home at 500 N. 9th St., provides supportive housing and a lifestyles program to help veterans get back on their feet. Residents are required to save 80 percent of their income while living in the home. This will help the individual be able to be prepared for things like utility deposits, rental deposits or transportation once they graduate from the program.

The Next Step Homeless Services also operates a homeless day center where sheltered and unsheltered veterans are also able to access a myriad of rehabilitative services including individual case management, hot meals, job counseling, psychological assessment, life-skills training, bicycle rentals, phone availability with after-hours messaging, mail service, budgeting classes, anger management classes and assistance’s with affordable housing searches.

"On any given night in the United States, more than 60,000 veterans are homeless. The Next Step is helping veterans find a path out of homelessness," Udouj said.

The Next Step Homeless Services also operates two other supportive housing units. They are the Esther Home for women and women with children and the Gabriel House for men.