Valkyrie Partners With Notley’s Homefront Fund on Homelessness Prevention and Diversion in the Austin Community
Valkyrie Presents New Research Study to Inform Homelessness Prevention Plan
Valkyrie, an applied science company, announced its research partnership with Notley’s HomeFront Fund through their philanthropic initiative, Valkyrie Virtue. HomeFront is a nonprofit organization that addresses homelessness, food insecurity and unequal access to economic opportunity in Austin, Texas. Valkyrie presented new research findings around homelessness prevention and diversion at the Summit to Address Unsheltered Homelessness in Austin. The Summit is a weeks-long multi-part virtual conference, addressing unsheltered homelessness through a diverse coalition of community advocates and leaders, service providers, business groups, philanthropists and City leaders. The event showcases the important work of various organizations driving change in their communities.
HomeFront, a non-profit founded by Notley partners Lawton Cummings and Dan Graham, seeks to develop forward-looking programs and solutions that provide immediate care for at-risk communities, including those experiencing or facing homelessness, food insecurity or economic instability. With data-driven insights at the helm of its mission, HomeFront partnered with Valkyrie’s team of scientists to create a transparent science-based model that identifies civic factors associated with becoming unhoused and outlines where emergency housing and other community services will be most critically needed. Tyson Tuttle, CEO of Silicon Labs and HomeFront Advisor commented, “Critical to our mission of creating a plan to address homelessness was data-driven analysis of where the need in our city really is. Valkyrie’s in-depth research contributions as scientists allows us to create a plan that more accurately prevents community members from experiencing homelessness.” Valkyrie’s ongoing research sheds light on an underserved and overlooked segment of the Austin population, and uncovers avenues to prevent further escalation of the current crisis.
The Valkyrie team of scientists analyzed data from October 2020 to April 2021 to inform decision-makers in their prevention and diversion efforts. At-risk communities were identified through analysis and modeling, with key considerations including:
· Economic and demographic data from the U.S. Census and American Community Survey, City of Austin Open Data Portal, Central Texas Food Bank and Eviction Lab, among several others.
· Potential implicit biases within existing data sources.
· Pandemic-related changes and developments.
· Analysis at the census tract level for a more relevant and fine-grain perspective on population characteristics.
“As part of the Austin community, it’s our job to maintain human dignity and assist those who face losing their homes or place of employment, experience food insecurity or are unable to access childcare. We want to ensure emergency resources such as food banks, grocery stores and public transportation are allocated to areas and individuals who most need them, which is why Valkyrie and its esteemed data scientists are critical in driving this research,” said Lawton Cummings, co-founder of HomeFront and partner at Notley. “Their scientific approach to uncovering the communities in Austin that are most at-risk for experiencing homelessness equipped us with the insights necessary to craft a holistic, impactful and data-driven approach to preventing homelessness.”
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“At Valkyrie, we believe in harnessing the power of data science for the greater good, and that requires upholding data integrity to combat bias stemming from socioeconomic factors,” Liz Coufal, head of Valkyrie’s philanthropic initiative commented. “Our team worked diligently throughout the scientific process to approach the challenge holistically. By interviewing subject matter experts, working closely with the HomeFront Fund stakeholders and gathering large datasets, we were able to provide HomeFront with the necessary insights to inform how our city prevents more of our neighbors from experiencing homelessness.”