Chronic homelessness is a problem across the United States. Many homeless families and individuals are unable to break the cycle of poverty.
Cisco has supported Community Solutions and its 100,000 Homes Campaign to find homes for 100,000 chronically homeless people across the United States by July 2014. We were thrilled when Community Solutions met its goal 1 month ahead of schedule. Homes have been found for more than 105,000 people, including over 31,000 veterans, in 186 participating communities.
Cisco’s initial Global Impact Cash Grant in 2012 supported the Sharing Innovations Initiative, which helped participating communities 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.
Average monthly housing placement rates for chronically homeless individuals increased from 1.6 percent to 5.1 percent in just 6 months. This is more than double the program target of 2.5 percent per month.
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.
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.
Cisco is now supporting another Community Solutions project — the web-based Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement System tool, which is an open, interactive, nimble, and transparent platform for coordination.
This tool tracks available housing matches to a client’s preferences and certain characteristics that may make him or her eligible for certain housing resources. All of this information creates thorough and up-to date client profiles that are used to match homeless clients into appropriate housing. This system will also help communities track progress and performance data, including total housing placements, progress toward monthly placement targets, and housing retention for people placed into permanent housing.
Supporting the 100,000 Homes Campaign and Community Solutions 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.