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Use data to explore local housing needs and to help shape your local housing strategy

The analysis of readily available data can provide important insights into the extent of your local housing needs. Data can help you:

  1. make the case for developing a local housing strategy, 
  2. determine what objectives you want the strategy to pursue, 
  3. guide how you can most effectively allocate your resources,
  4. evaluate how different sets of policies may affect the decisions made by developers to produce new housing and rehabilitate existing structures, and 
  5. monitor and evaluate progress as you implement your local housing strategy.

While each community will approach these activities in different ways depending on the local context and resources, the links below provide guidance on how to use data to inform your comprehensive local housing strategy:

Housing needs assessment tool

The Housing Needs Assessment Tool identifies key data points that can help you assess your local housing needs, shows you how to display that data using figures/maps/charts/etc. (”visualizations”) and how to combine those visualizations with text to illuminate different aspects of your local housing needs. 

Using Locally Available Data, Interviews, and Surveys to Supplement Nationally Available Data in a Housing Needs Assessment

Locally generated data can add valuable insights into the nature and extent of a locality’s housing needs and provide it on a timelier basis. Such data can help local officials determine how to best address those needs in a local housing strategy, decide what objectives to pursue in its strategy, how to allocate housing resources, evaluate the effectiveness of different policies, and monitor and evaluate progress as the local housing strategy is implemented.

Data Presentations

This tool identifies data points that address each of seven key policy questions. These data points are relatively easy to gather from generally available data sources. We provide an example of how to make the data visual by creating a figure, table, or map. Finally, we provide a prototype of how to organize these “visualizations” into a narrative to address each of the key policy questions.

Gauging development feasibility

By creating a real estate pro forma you can gain an understanding of the basic economics facing real estate development in your community given such factors as the costs of land, construction, and on-going management of the property. This brief explains how a real estate pro forma can help you understand the possible impacts housing policies can have on the economics of developing housing.

Establishing numerical goals and monitoring progress

This brief explores how numerical goals can help you monitor progress in implementing your local housing strategy and identify the need for redirecting resources or modifying policies.

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