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Hoping to lower the cost of mitigating homelessness by preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place, a Los Angeles research group says it has created a screening tool that can predict who is likely to become chronically homeless after losing a job or leaving the foster-care system.

The Economic Roundtable published a report Wednesday, offering its statistical model as a way for Los Angeles County workers to target their resources early to keep people from sliding into long-term homelessness.

But county officials are declining to use it.

Instead, they have accused the Roundtable — a nonprofit that has conducted extensive studies on homelessness — of misusing millions of records from county and state agencies, including statistics on employment, healthcare, homelessness, as well as involvement in the criminal justice and foster care systems.

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