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AI Technology Aids Efforts to Address Homelessness Crisis in Canada

TL;DR

  • AI helps predict homelessness trends and identify at-risk individuals in Canada, aiding policymakers and service providers.
  • London, Ontario, uses AI to estimate chronic homelessness risk, but a lack of housing stock remains a challenge.
  • While AI offers insights, addressing homelessness requires comprehensive human-centered approaches alongside AI tools.

As Canada grapples with a growing homelessness issue, a potent ally has emerged in the fight against this social crisis – artificial intelligence (AI). Various organizations and government agencies across the country are leveraging AI’s predictive capabilities to gain insights into homelessness trends and develop targeted strategies.

Predictive AI algorithms

One of the primary applications of AI in addressing homelessness is through predictive algorithms. These algorithms analyze vast datasets to forecast future homelessness trends and identify individuals at risk. By doing so, they enable policymakers and service providers to allocate resources more efficiently and implement preventative measures.

Tim Richter, President of the Canadian Alliance to Ending Homelessness (CAEH), highlights that AI can be instrumental in targeting preventative measures for individuals. For instance, city planners can use AI to determine the types of housing needed and appropriate rent levels in various neighborhoods, ultimately working to prevent homelessness.

In London, Ontario, a city that has witnessed a surge in homelessness, AI has been put to use. Craig Cooper, Director of Housing Stability Services at the City of London, noted a doubling of shelter users during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To address this crisis, London deployed an AI algorithm in 2021. This algorithm utilizes a by-name list, which estimates an individual’s risk of becoming chronically homeless based on their circumstances. While this AI tool provides valuable insights, Cooper acknowledges that the lack of adequate housing stock remains a significant challenge.

AI projections for homelessness in Canada

AI has also been employed to project homelessness trends at a national level. By analyzing data from various municipalities, including shelter usage, hidden homelessness estimates, inflation trends, unemployment rates, and housing stock data, AI algorithms can predict which regions are likely to experience increased homelessness. 

Alina Turner, CEO of HelpSeeker, used AI to predict post-COVID homelessness trends. Her team sounded the alarm on regions such as Metro Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, which were expected to see a rapid increase in homelessness.

Despite its promise, AI is not a panacea for homelessness. Challenges persist, primarily related to data collection and accuracy. Homelessness is a complex issue, and some individuals may not be counted in AI algorithms, as they may engage in couch-surfing or avoid government programs. Additionally, data collection methods vary across municipalities, making it difficult to establish a standardized, comprehensive dataset for AI analysis.

The human element

It is crucial to recognize that AI is a tool, not a solution in itself. While it can provide valuable insights and predictions, addressing homelessness requires comprehensive, human-centered approaches. AI should complement the efforts of governments and organizations but should not replace the essential human touch needed to support vulnerable individuals.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Benson Mawira

Benson is a blockchain reporter who has delved into industry news, on-chain analysis, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc.His area of expertise is the cryptocurrency markets, fundamental and technical analysis.With his insightful coverage of everything in Financial Technologies, Benson has garnered a global readership.

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