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Predictive analytics are a modern tool used by Major League Baseball teams to help them win games; Chair Nathan Fletcher of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors wants to use predictive analytics to help prevent people from becoming homeless. Today during a press conference, he introduced the analytics policy that’s up for a vote on Tuesday and also announced a new app-based tool the County is now using to mobilize more of its employees to help connect unsheltered people to services.

“We have to use every opportunity and technology available to prevent homelessness and get people who are currently on the street into housing,” said Chair Fletcher.  “People in need of services contact our County daily, by using data we will be able anticipate if they are at risk of being unhoused; and then proactively help them stay-housed.

“The app is a tool we have just started to use. It will mobilize about 60 non-traditional outreach workers like librarians and park rangers who come in contact with unsheltered people to better collect their information and direct them to services.”    

If passed on Tuesday, a comprehensive integrated data system will be developed using multiple data points, both internal and external, to create a system that allows County employees to evaluate if a person is at risk of becoming homeless and offer support to keep them housed.  The policy also calls for creating a Homeless Prevention Unit within the Office of Homelessness Solutions to conduct direct outreach to individuals. The department will have 180 days to return to the Board with a plan for implementation.  

San Diego County, if the Board approves the policy on Tuesday, would be following the lead of a proven model for homeless prevention. In 2020, the County of Los Angeles (L.A. County) began to address the housing and homelessness crisis by centralizing data for analysis to prevent homelessness before it starts.