Tom Lorello, executive director of Cambridge-based Heading Home, accepts the Boston/SF News 2011 “Organization of the Year” award from Erin Ryan and Lauren Gondert, both of Boston/SF News. (Photo: Dhanashree Ramachandran, Boston/SF News)

Heading Home, a Cambridge-based group of real estate professionals who help the homeless, announced Feb. 1 that it won “Organization of the Year” from Boston/SF News, a commercial real estate news outlet.

Volunteers for Heading Home, a 36-year-old nonprofit, help formerly homeless families move from shelter to a permanent home, in part by buying and renovating property for them through a program called Up & Out and offering support services to help change the conditions that create homelessness.

“The perilous housing market and wave of foreclosures have displaced many people, and the issue of homelessness has become absolutely critical in the Greater Boston community,” said Susan Shelby, a representative for the program. “On any given night, there are more than 7,000 homeless people in Greater Boston, and the average age of a homeless person – and Heading Home client – is just 8 years old.” She said the number of homeless families is the greatest since the Great Depression.

Last year, Heading Home helped more than 2,000 homeless families and people in Cambridge, Somerville, Boston, Malden, Medford, Everett and Quincy, she said.

The Boston/SF News Real Estate Awards recognize people, projects and organizations in 15 categories for their work in Massachusetts’ commercial real estate industry. Winners are selected by a jury of industry experts based on the nominations of about 6,000 weekly readers of Boston/SF News. Awards were presented to winners at a Jan. 20 ceremony.

Many prominent real estate organizations are involved with Heading Home, and many of Heading Home’s initiatives and events are spearheaded by prominent figures from the real estate industry, Shelby said.

“Boston’s real estate industry has been able to shed its competitive armor to become a unified force against homelessness and as a result, has greatly impacted Heading Home’s success,” she said.

For information on Heading Home, click here.

This post was written from a press release.