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Cisco Nonprofit Partner Featured on 60 Minutes for Efforts to End Chronic Homelessness

Community Solutions, a national nonprofit that Cisco has supported with cash and product grants since 2011, was featured on 60 Minutes this week for its 100,000 Homes Campaign — a collaboration of more than 200 communities working together to collectively house 100,000 chronically homeless people in the United States by July 2014.

Our partnership will enable Community Solutions to more effectively convene community members at Rapid Results Housing Boot Camps and webinars to transfer best practices, encourage and share innovation, and enable crowd-sourced problem solving. On average, participating communities are doubling their monthly housing placement rates in just 100 days.

George Siletti struggled with homelessness for about 30 years. In 2003, he was placed in an apartment in upper northwest Washington. D.C. Today, at 57, George is part of Friendship Place, a volunteer group that helps the homeless, and has a goal of getting his G.E.D.

George Siletti struggled with homelessness for about 30 years. In 2003, he was placed in an apartment in upper northwest Washington. D.C. Today, at 57, George is part of Friendship Place, a volunteer group that helps the homeless, and has a goal of getting his G.E.D. Photo: Friendship Place

According to Community Solutions, America’s chronically homeless population of roughly 110,000 comprise 10 to 15 percent of the homeless population, yet they absorb 50 percent of emergency service costs associated with homelessness. Federal agencies define “chronically homeless” as an individual with a disabling condition who has been homeless for more than a year or has had repeated episodes of homelessness.

For years, homeless service providers tried to offer street-based medical and mental healthcare, addiction counseling, job training, and countless other services to people experiencing homelessness in an effort to make them “ready for housing” with minimal impact.

Taking a different evidence-based approach, members of the 100,000 Homes Campaign decided that receiving treatment and supportive services should not be conditions to permanent housing. Instead, they believe the ability to address personal mental health goals, beat addiction, and gain stable employment stems from the safety and stability that comes from having a permanent home.

By moving people directly into permanent housing and then continuing to address their health, mental health and employment needs, 100,000 Homes communities have successfully moved more than 83,000 homeless Americans off the streets, including more than 23,000 homeless veterans, in four short years.

At 14, Bethany Willyard ran away from an abusive home and began to use drugs. She spent years of her life homeless, in prison, and in mental institutions. Earlier this year, with the help of the Mental Health Association in Tulsa, Bethany moved into her own apartment.  Sober for two years, she has a career helping others overcome homelessness. Photo: Mental Health Association in Tulsa

At 14, Bethany Willyard ran away from an abusive home and began to use drugs. She spent years homeless, in prison, and in mental institutions. Earlier this year, with the help of the Mental Health Association in Tulsa, Bethany moved into her own apartment. Sober for two years, she has a career helping others overcome homelessness. Photo: Mental Health Association in Tulsa

Becky Kanis, director of the 100,000 Homes Campaign says research shows this population spends less time in expensive emergency rooms and hospital beds when they have housing. “We are paying more as taxpayers to walk past that person on the street and do nothing than we would be paying to just give them an apartment,” she says on 60 Minutes.

A study by the University of Pennsylvania showed that 85 percent of homeless people in Philadelphia who were given housing and support were still in housing two years later and were unlikely to become homeless again.

The 100,000 Homes Campaign is a natural fit for Cisco’s strategy to support critical human needs because it uses technology and data-driven tools to move the homeless into stable housing and end their homelessness for good.

Watch the entire 60 Minutes segment with Anderson Cooper below or read the transcript on cbsnews.com:

 

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