Smart City Response to Homelessness

The smart city is a concept of utilizing digital technologies to improve and enhance the lives of a city’s inhabitants. This concept has been the subject of increasing interest over the past few years. However, most studies address improving aspects of a city’s infrastructure, such as information security, privacy, communication networks, government, and transportation. Noticeably absent from the subject matter of these studies are social problems, such as poverty and homelessness. In this paper, we explore how technology can be harnessed to mitigate homelessness. We introduce eight novel heuristic algorithms that create a desirable homeless-to-housing assignment with regards to homeless individuals’ characteristics and the nature of services. We discuss the efficiency of each of the algorithms through simulations. Our best performing algorithm obtains 92% accuracy in comparison to the optimal solution and 99.7% fairness. The algorithms are compared in terms of execution time, solution accuracy, fairness, and the relative difference with the optimal solution of this NP-hard problem.

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