Clark County to use AI to assist residents struggling with housing payments due to COVID-19 pandemic

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IBM Watson Health Citizen Engagement is supporting Clark County to help thousands of residents struggling with housing payments due to the coronavirus pandemic get access to vital emergency funds

An IBM logo seen on a building near the Queen’s Walk area, Central London.
On Thursday, 23 January 2019, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Clark County and IBM Watson Health have partnered to utilize the AI-enabled IBM Watson Health Citizen Engagement platform to help make vital social services, including housing assistance, available to residents impacted by the unprecedented shutdown of tourism, entertainment, and dining in Las Vegas.

IBM collaborated with Clark County to offer a suite of services including IBM Watson Health Citizen Engagement to help with Clark County’s CARES Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) where residents can apply, upload documents and receive funds set aside for emergency housing assistance.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the lives of the residents of Greater Las Vegas and Clark County,” said Assistant County Manager Kevin Schiller.

The CHAP platform was designed and developed to adapt to the unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

AI-ENABLED SOLUTION

The solution was launched in just 11 weeks, a process that typically can take approximately eight months.

“We had a profound need to immediately address an unprecedented number of claims and, on top of that, navigate the issue that most of our government services were not open to the public and the staff processing assistance claims were forced to work in remote environments. Our priority is to support our residents with a simple, secured solution that allows for mobile access, and this solution provides a resource for this complex and time-sensitive effort,” added Schiller.

The IBM Watson Assistant can provide residents with a dynamic AI virtual agent on the CHAP portal to ask questions and prescreen for the benefits program.

Citizen Engagement portal design flexibility is designed to allow residents to apply and track their applications using various web browsers including mobile and tablet platforms.

The CHAP platform also supports remote processing. This is important because many Clark County social services employees are responding to process requests in a remote environment following the closure of government offices.

“We are committed to using AI and other emerging technologies to proactively tackle vital services, such as housing assistance, from any device for our community,” said Clark County Chief Information Officer Nadia Hansen.

“Clark County moved quickly to support its most vulnerable residents – many of whom were facing eviction, added Hanson.

The CHAP platform, leveraging IBM AI and Cloud technology, provides a model for rapidly closing a critical gap to help support people when they need it most,” said Dave Liederbach, General Manager, Health and Human Services, IBM Watson Health.

PURPOSE OF FUNDS

CHAP funds are to be used specifically to pay of rent, mortgage, utilities, utility deposits, security deposits, and emergency lodging as well as payments for services that are made directly to a landlord, mortgage company, or utility company.

For more information about IBM please visit, www.ibm.com.

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