CSDA researchers share Allegheny Homelessness Tool at D4GX, New York

September 23, 2019

CSDA Director Professor Rhema Vaithianathan and CSDA research fellow Chamari Kithulgoda attended  the Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange (D4GX) in New York in September and presented a poster – “Implementing a Predictive Risk Model to Prioritize Homeless Services:  The Allegheny Homelessness Tool”.

The poster, created with Allegheny County Department of Human Services, traces how CSDA has assisted the county to leverage its integrated data in an effort to replace its existing actuarial tool for homelessness services with a predictive risk model (PRM) that better identifies clients at risk of harmful outcomes.

The authors conclude that “Overall, the PRMs performed well, even on harms they were not trained for.  By contrast, the scores of the actuarial tool were only weakly related to the future harms that we studied.”

Implementation of the PRM tool will provide better targeting of restricted homelessness services to those who are most likely to be subject to future harms.  It will also reduce the amount of time that DHS staff spend assessing clients.

The PRM tool is expected to be deployed by early 2020.

Data for Good Exchange (D4GX) is an annual event that brings together data scientists with non-profits and government agencies to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.  The forum aims to help participants to build cross-sector relationships while solving problems for the social good that might not otherwise be addressed by market forces. Participants share insights and progress on applying modern machine learning and data science methods to problems in public and non-profit sectors as well as methods around their application, data collaboration and data science education.