Innovative Southern California Businesses Address Homelessness


credit: Flickr

According to a 2019 point-in-time count, there are more than 612 unsheltered homeless individuals in the Coachella Valley. A Southern California company, Renova Energy, has handed out a few dozen cell phone solar chargers to homeless individuals living in Sunrise Park in downtown Palm Springs to power their phones while living unsheltered so they can reach public safety, caseworkers, family members, doctors and friends.

Renova Energy CEO Vincent Battaglia believes that any business no matter how large or small has the responsibility to give back. And he's not alone.

Companies around the country are doing more to tackle homelessness. Some companies, like Microsoft, are providing loans for affordable housing in Seattle. Others are small start-ups like The Giving Keys, an L.A. jewelry company that hires homeless individuals, or Detroit's Empowerment Plan, which hires homeless women to sew jackets for people on the streets.

According to experts, there are several ways businesses can work toward being socially responsible: philanthropy, volunteering, using company skills to create human-centered products or services, or providing innovative opportunities for community members.

For any business wanting to be sustainable and mission-based, it needs to be innovative. Abby Fifer Mandell, a University of Southern California business professor and the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab director, requires the need for business models that are "financially sustainable, which means they have to be clever, creative and innovative, and are also digging deep on pressing problems by addressing long-term solutions." Read the Entire Article


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Fashion entrepreneur Amy Yeung moved her LA-based online apparel business Orenda Tribe to live on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, among the indigenous sewers, jewelry makers, and artisans who are her suppliers.




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