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The following is an excerpt from Cisco’s 2019 CSR report.

A place to call home

Every night in America, more than half a million people go to sleep homeless. An even greater number are at risk of becoming homeless— just a missed paycheck or unexpected medical bill away from a night on the street. Sal and Elaine Sanchez were among those at risk. Sal once ran a successful plumbing business in Silicon Valley. Then, he got hurt and a downward spiral began. The couple ultimately experienced homelessness for eight long years.

Sal and Elaine Sanchez

Cisco has moved to address this serious and growing crisis of inequality in our backyard. In 2018, we committed to donate $50 million over five years to help Destination: Home catalyze public funding and launch the Supportive Housing & Innovation Fund. Destination: Home is a public-private partnership with a simple mission: to make homelessness in Silicon Valley rare, brief and nonrecurring. Its goal is to create permanent supportive housing for people in need in Silicon Valley and prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless in the first place. Santa Clara County, California where Cisco’s headquarters are located, is one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S. The county has among the largest homeless population (9,700) and number of chronically homeless people (2,500) in the U.S.

The fund will help build supportive housing, which combines housing with other social services, and expand programs that prevent people from becoming homeless in Santa Clara County, California. For example it will facilitate financing for developers to buy land and plan construction of homes, use technology to improve services for the homeless and implement evidence-based programs to prevent homelessness. So far, Destination: Home has achieved the following impacts:

  • $9.7 million for construction of six new housing developments with 472 units
  • 1,200+ housing units will be constructed through support to housing developers
  • 95 percent of families remained stably housed while receiving prevention services
  • 841 households enrolled in an expanded homelessness prevention program
  • 92 percent of households remain housed one year after assistance ended
  • 71% of participants in prevention programs received financial aid within 72 hours of application

Among the new residents of San Jose’s very first supportive housing development were Sal and Elaine.

Cisco is pleased to share that we’re extending this commitment to help people like Sal and Elaine in other communities. In FY19, we announced a commitment of $1 million over four years to support a housing-first pilot in Rome, Italy, where homelessness is on the rise. The Cisco team in Italy will work closely with our two implementation partners, Comunità di Sant’Egidio and fio.PSD, to supply the technology they need to support and scale their operations.

To find out more, read the full Cisco 2019 CSR report.