"Haven for Hope" Empowering individuals to overcome poverty and make a fresh start: NEC and its role helping to change people's lives
The NEC Group is engaged in activities to address homelessness, particularly through initiatives led by NEC Corporation of America (NECAM) that are helping vulnerable populations to receive care and ultimately recover. These activities are part of NEC's Creating Shared Value (CSV) initiative, which is based on the idea that the value a company creates by addressing social issues can yield economic value. In recent years, it has become essential for companies to not only engage in philanthropic activities but also resolve social issues to provide value and achieve sustainable growth.
The NEC Group's extensive experience in the IT field is helping people make a fresh start. In this holiday season, as many people are spending more time with family, friends, and loved ones, we introduce the NEC Group's efforts to help those struggling with poverty to access the resources they need.
One of the largest cities in the United States, San Antonio, Texas, is home to approximately 1.47 million people. As is the case in other large cities, homelessness is on the rise. Helping to overcome this unfortunate reality, the city, along with community leaders, nonprofits and service providers have created Haven for Hope, a modern facility that addresses the root causes of homelessness.
Haven for Hope, a nonprofit organization established in 2010 and self-described as a "transformational campus," is focused on helping people become self-sufficient with the ultimate goal of addressing the underlying causes of homelessness. Since its establishment, Haven for Hope has provided services to 40,000 people and helped more than 7,000 people find permanent housing. After being invited to tour Haven for Hope in 2021, NECAM began supporting the organization's initiatives by co-creating innovation-based solutions to some of their most pressing problems.
NECAM is leveraging its expertise in digital ID, video analytics, inventory management systems and more to support Haven for Hope safety, operations and programs. These contributions are being made by numerous organizations within the NEC Group from all over the globe and have helped to enhance the capabilities of Haven for Hope.
While Haven for Hope has long taken a person-centered approach to promote recovery, NECAM has taken a digital approach powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and biometric technology. As envisioned by Mark Ikeno, the former CEO of NECAM who believed that "new value can be created by leveraging the strengths of individuals," NECAM made the decision to collaborate with Haven for Hope, with both parties utilizing their respective strengths to provide services in the most compassionate and streamlined way.
The initiatives NECAM has been involved with at Haven for Hope have inspired other CSV activities in the United States, such as homeless outreach activities being carried out together with The Institute for Human Services, Inc. (IHS) in Hawaii. It is estimated that there were approximately 580,000 people experiencing homelessness in the United States in 2022, and that Hawaii has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country. NECAM began contributing to the resolution of this issue by using its face recognition technology—which has been evaluated as the world's most accurate—for ID matching of individuals experiencing homelessness.
If an IHS member encounters someone in distress, the member can quickly confirm the person's ID using a smartphone app. This enables important information to be accessed immediately, such as emergency contact people or medications the person may need.
NECAM jointly developed this app with a local IT integrator, regional nonprofit organizations, and others. The NEC Digital Platform, which is comprised of a variety of advanced digital technologies, played a vital role in this endeavor. Enabling the utilization of ID management and registration processes as well as facial recognition and other biometrics that have made it easier to manage information regarding IHS clients. Going forward, plans are slated to expand support to include the provision of treatment and hospital transport in cases where it is determined that an individual requires medical attention.
Both Haven for Hope and IHS remain committed to a person-centered and trauma-informed approach to combating chronic homelessness. As a company whose purpose is to create the social values of safety, security, fairness and efficiency to promote a more sustainable world where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential, the NEC Group shares this goal. That's why when everyone brings their strengths to the table, innovative solutions to society's most pressing problems can be found.
For the NEC Group, achieving success in business is about creating a better, more prosperous and fulfilled society. The value we are able to provide to society and the return on that value serves as the source of investment for our next stage of growth. This is indeed what we are striving to accomplish through our CSV initiatives.