Stories of our impact

A good night's sleep

Depaul UK helps homeless young people by providing safe emergency shelter, long-term accommodation, food and health services. As part of our social impact strategy, One Million Futures, we chose Depaul as one of our society partners. Find out how we’ve been supporting the charity in its goal of helping people stay off the streets.

A safe place to spend the night

One of Depaul’s key programmes is Nightstop, which provides safe emergency accommodation for homeless youths in the homes of the charity’s volunteers. Depaul wanted to expand their Nightstop services into new regions across the UK but didn’t have access to the skills and technology to analyse the data and identify areas most affected by homelessness among young people.

To tackle this problem, we sent the data science team from our Risk Analytics practice to provide pro bono support to the charity for five weeks. The team often forecasts demand for clients' products and services using advanced data science techniques, and used similar processes and skills to help to predict demand for Nightstop’s services, quantifying the extent of the problem for the first time.

The team created a comprehensive database of prevalence of homelessness around the UK by combining government data, Depaul’s own data, and information from charity websites. Then, using techniques such as geospatial analytics, they created a predictive model to score the feasibility of expansion into each local authority and presented the analysis using an interactive heat map.

Numbers paint a clearer picture

Supporting Depaul UK to focus its services where there is the greatest need will make a big difference for young people with no financial means to find housing. With a better understanding of the level of demand for its services, it can focus lobbying activity on local stakeholders in areas identified by the heat map for additional resources.

Thanks to the data presented by Deloitte, Depaul now has all the necessary information required to support data-driven grant proposals and expansion plans so it can continue helping young people affected by homelessness.

Nicola Harwood, Associate Director, Prevention at Depaul UK, commented: The heat mapping tool Deloitte created for us has already had significant impact in helping us to work towards our ambition that no young person should sleep in an unsafe place. Not only did it help to ensure Nightstop is led by need not just instinct, but it has also directly resulted in us securing funding to develop a significant new Nightstop. The tool helped to demonstrate the real need for emergency accommodation in a particular area, which is what funders want to know. We have always declared a desire to grow, but been unclear where or why those areas, and this project helped to define that. The data science team were fantastic to work with. They really demonstrated just how powerful data science can be in understanding the needs of a service, and opened my eyes to how much we can learn from our data sets to influence how we work and grow. Our next steps will be to start targeting those areas defined by the tool, and start realising our ambition to have a Nightstop in every city!”