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  • Writer's pictureTom O'Connell

Forecasting with Data: Addressing the Cost-of-Living-Crisis with AI

Updated: Apr 13

As many of our readers are surely aware, the cost-of-living-crisis is disproportionately affecting those at the bottom end of the socioeconomic spectrum, and there’s no reason to believe that this will end any time soon.

As the cost of food and fuel soars, and inflation is causing our money to be worth less, the obvious effect is that many more people will be unable to afford all of their monthly necessities. These include food, energy bills, water bills, council tax and rent.

The ‘heating or eating dilemma’ has been a big topic of conversation in the social housing sector over the past year, and we’re now also seeing many households not paying their rent. The main cause of this is, of course, that many households simply can’t afford to pay their rent on their current income and benefits.

Being an industry that prides itself on helping people, it is not acceptable to wait to provide support until tenants have missed their rent payments. To do so is tantamount to saying ‘Wait until you can’t afford to eat and heat your home, and then we’ll help’. The only viable and ethical way forward is to identify those households most at risk of falling into food poverty, fuel poverty and rent arrears, and intervene early to provide them with support and prevent this from happening.

This, however, isn’t an easy task for most financial support teams. Due to the systems in place at many housing associations, it’s difficult to know who’s most in need of support before they’ve fallen into arrears. As most financial support teams organise their cases based on debt total alone, they are only aware of the tenants that are currently in debt, rather than those who are likely to fall into debt in the coming weeks or months. This reactive approach therefore allows thousands of tenancies to fall into preventable arrears.

To combat this issue, Occupi has devised a method to provide housing teams with accurate insights into those most at risk, using a unique feature that we call ‘future intervention’. Using our sophisticated AI to analyse tenancies in regards to their financial stability, we can predict a tenancy’s financial resilience and the impact rising costs will have on them. By pinpointing those who are at risk of food poverty, fuel poverty and rent arrears, our ‘future intervention’ system allows your teams to provide support earlier and be proactive in helping your tenants.

The Household Support Fund and other cost of living packages are available to support vulnerable households. It is important, however, that the financial support teams responsible for allocating the funds have a means of prioritisation to ensure a fair and consistent approach is adopted. The future intervention insights provided by Occupi have been designed with this in mind, ensuring that the help your teams offer, and the allocation of cost of living support packages, is given to those who need it the most, in the most effective way.

To find out more about how Occupi’s AI-powered future interventions insights could help your teams, get in touch today.

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