AI Used To Predict What?!

( – The Homelessnеss Prevention Unit within the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services is currеntly using an AI Prevention pilot program that uses predictive AI to identify individuals and families at risk of becoming homeless, offering aid to help them stabilize and remain housed.

Launched in 2021, the program has aided nearly 800 individuals and families at risk of homelessness.

Dana Vanderford, an Associate Dirеctor at the County’s Department of Health Services, said the technology has helped serve nearly 800 individuals and families at risk of becoming homeless, with 86% of participants retaining permanent housing when they leave the program.

In 2023, California’s homeless population excееded 181,000 individuals, a surgе of over 30% since 2007. According to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Devеlopment, the state spent $24 billion on homelessness from 2018 through 2023.

Participants have access to between $4,000 and $8,000 in funding, primarily from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Although locating and convincing individuals of the program’s legitimacy can be challenging, once contact is established, assistance is swiftly provided.

Amber Lung, a case worker who assisted a mother after losing her job and being unable to provide for her son, emphasized the importance of preventative work.

She highlighted the ease of stabilizing situations when individuals are helped before losing their housing, compared to the difficulties of regaining stability once homelessness occurs.

The California Policy Lab at UCLA has developed an AI model over several years that uses data provided by the Los Angeles County’s Chief Information Office. This data includes emergency room visits, behavioral health care, and public benefits programs, among others.

The Executive Director of the California Policy Lab, Janey Rountree, anonymized data linked over many years to make predictions about who might experience homelessness.

Despite AI technology’s promising potential in aiding those at risk of homelessness, concerns about data privacy and potential misuse persist.

The Chief Ethics Scientist at AI startup Hugging Face, Margaret Mitchell underscored the importance of informed consent and data security in government AI initiatives.

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