How Cisco, Computacenter Helped a City Tackle Housing Insecurity

El Paso has been leveraging technology from Cisco and Computacenter for years and has expanded in a big way.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

March 1, 2023

7 Slides

In the eyes of Cisco, Computacenter and El Paso, Texas, the recently launched social services portal for this West Texas city marks a growing trend of public sector organizations turning to technology partners for human outcomes.

The city last week unveiled, an online portal that connects residents to live representatives from different nonprofits across the city. People can access resources for emergency shelter, housing, food, addiction, VA support and other issues. It features around-the-clock street outreach resources, which users access through the portal’s “digital front door.” The portal leverages Cisco Webex conferencing, running on underlying Cisco infrastructure.


El Paso’s Nicole Ferrini

Nicole Ferrini, El Paso’s climate and sustainability officer, said people need simple, empathetic solutions to the housing insecurity. She said portal helps residents navigate the complexities related with finding oneself on the street.

“It’s not as simple as, ‘Well, I got evicted.’ It could be a number of different things,” she told Channel Futures. “So I find myself without a place to sleep tonight, and I have no idea of what to do. I am in a traumatized state.”

Connecting the Community

Ferrini said her data showed that 75% of individuals facing homelessness had access to a cellphone or mobile device. Those folks can go to and instantly connect with a live agent.

Cisco, Computacenter and El Paso have been working together for many years. For example, El Paso set up an emergency shelter during the pandemic with their help.

Channel Futures spoke to Ferrini about the portal. Gary DePreta, Cisco’s vice president for state, local governments, and education, also elaborated on the partnership. Computacenter senior director of south central Lanett Blum also spoke to Channel Futures. See our slideshow above for the conversation.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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