Cisco has always supported nonprofits working to help at-risk people and families, especially during humanitarian crises. Since March, we’ve provided additional funding to three strategic nonprofit partners that are working to help our most vulnerable citizens access the care and services they need. Here is how they are taking action:
Destination: Home works closely with its public sector and nonprofit partners to develop and fund new strategies to reduce and prevent homelessness in Santa Clara County, California. Reduced or lost wages due to school and work closures can be devastating for families that are already living paycheck to paycheck. Cisco’s donation to Destination: Home supports their Santa Clara County COVID-19 financial assistance program. This program, administered by Sacred Heart Community Service, and in collaboration with 15 other direct service organizations, is providing emergency financial assistance to vulnerable, low-income residents of Santa Clara County. Residents with a documented loss of income due to health, employment, or school/childcare closures related to the pandemic can get financial assistance to help pay rent or meet other basic needs. Destination: Home is also working to lessen the impact that the virus can have on those experiencing homelessness by working with the county to provide hygiene kits, handwashing stations, portable toilets, mobile shower services, and clean water. Additionally, they are working with partners to expand temporary shelter capacity and identify public or private sites where people experiencing homelessness can be safely housed.
Covenant House has helped transform and save the lives of more than one million homeless, runaway, and trafficked youth. The nonprofit offers housing and support services to 74,000 young people across the United States and Canada each year. Homeless youth are at higher risk during a massive health crisis. For example, they have higher rates of chronic and acute health problems than others their age, they lack health insurance, and are more vulnerable to infections and illness thanks to sleeping on the streets or in crowded shelters. Many of the young people served by Covenant House have been employed in the service industry and transportation sectors, which have been decimated by the shutdown. At one of their sites, 85 percent of their residents lost their jobs within a two-week period. This has resulted in an increased need for the critical support and services that Covenant House provides. Covenant House is taking action to protect the youth they serve, including setting aside quarantine space and procuring and distributing cleaning and hygiene products.
Mercy Corps is an international development and humanitarian relief nonprofit active in more than 40 countries. Cisco supports its COVID-19 Resilience Fund, which helps to ensure the ongoing delivery of Mercy Corps’ life-saving programs and reduce the health, economic, and psycho-social effects of the crisis on very low-income individuals around the world, including but not limited to refugee populations. Mercy Corps programs include education and supply distribution to prevent the spread of infection, emergency financial assistance to vulnerable communities, and emergency small business support. The Mercy Corps’ Technology for Development team is also building additional capacity to support their teams and programs responding to the global health crises through the use of digital technology. A portion of our contribution will go toward Mercy Corps’ Technology for Development team, to support their teams and programs responding to the global health crises through the use of digital technology.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), those experiencing homelessness are at higher risk of contracting disease, as they are likely to be older, chronically ill, or immunocompromised. They also lack access to sanitation and hygiene products that might help prevent the spread of disease, and homes where they can “shelter in place.”
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that displaced people all over the world are at heightened risk of contracting disease. Refugee populations live close to one another, and often lack sufficient access to water, sanitation, and hygiene.
According to Human Rights Watch, many low-income individuals do not have paid sick leave or health insurance and have jobs that cannot be performed from home. Low-income households are at risk of losing their housing due to work, school, and childcare closures, and do not have the savings to endure a period with no income. They may face the decision between going to work or staying home with their children, or using their limited funds for either food or rent.
Helping the most vulnerable among us
Cisco is committed to supporting organizations that help the most vulnerable among us. We are proud to partner with nonprofits and social change agents worldwide who are taking on the biggest challenges we face. Learn more about how you can support nonprofits like Destination: Home, Covenant House, and Mercy Corps through donations, advocacy, or volunteering.