America’s homeless crisis is intensifying, but entirely fixable, according to the leader of a public-private partnership whose mission is to end homelessness in Santa Clara County, California.
After speaking to more and more homeless people, Jen Loving, the CEO of Destination: Home, has found that often they fall into poverty because they lost their income stream, their family has broken apart or a catastrophic event has thrown their lives into turmoil.
“What we don't do a good enough job is catching people before they fall into homelessness,” she told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo.
She also believes that affordable housing hasn’t been built for low-income people, especially seniors on fixed income.
“As more people are aging, as homelessness is aging, seniors on fixed income cannot afford to live even … at a rent that is below market but not deeply affordable," she said. "So we need to be creating that type of housing and keeping more people from entering into homelessness.”
According to the Institute of Global Homelessness, an estimated 1.1 billion people live in insufficient housing and more than 100 million people don’t have places to live at all.
In California, despite pouring billions of dollars into cleanup efforts, the homeless population is on the rise. Human waste and trash-strewn streets are being blamed for a decline in tourism and illness.
Cisco Systems, based in Santa Clara County where the numbers show the third-highest rate of chronic homelessness in the country, is now partnering with Destination: Home to help solve the crisis. Cisco just announced a five-year commitment of $50 million to build more housing, improve technology capacity and create more opportunities for homeless people.
“We want everybody to be housed,” said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.
Loving believes the federal government doesn’t take responsibility for homelessness. If there were more subsidized housing there would be fewer people on the streets. She also believes the same of the city and local policies.
“When we're building housing we need to be setting policies that are equitable to the people at the lowest end of the bracket,” she said.
Loving, through her company, has been able to help more than 100 homeless families and individuals move into permanent solutions.
“We've put 19 projects on the ground in the last two years -- seven of those Cisco has helped us do,” she explained.
Robbins believes that Loving’s strategy is efficient and more business leaders should come to the table.
“I think it's imperative for business to find those people who understand these problems deeply understand what's causing them understand what the real solution is and then just help them achieve their mission,” he said.