A new scholarly article from Cityscape Data Shop, a publication of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Policy Development and Research, explores the USDA Rural Housing Service’s (RHS) use of PolicyMap to compile and display their Single-Family and Multifamily Housing data. The article was written by our colleagues (formerly) at the USDA, Corianne Payton Scally (now a Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute) and David Lipsetz. It announces the new public data and describes PolicyMap’s integral role in making the data accessible and useful to community development practitioners, policy researchers and community groups to understand rural housing needs, and to develop evidence-based research. Scally and Lipsetz explain:
“A partnership with PolicyMap allows for data to be freely mapped along with a variety of additional data points and layers highlighting community assets and needs. This mapping improves the public access and usefulness of the data for community-driven analysis.”
The newly accessible RHS data that PolicyMap provides is primary to demonstrating the breadth and scope of the USDA’s housing footprint in rural America. It’s crucial to understanding the importance of the USDA’s role in providing affordable housing to rural communities across the United States, and in preserving those housing options.
PolicyMap is currently completing an interactive report for the USDA RHS that will show, for any community across the U.S., how many USDA RHS multifamily properties will “expire” or transition from subsidized by the USDA to market rate, potentially reducing the affordability of housing for communities that may already be struggling financially. The report will use additional data within the PolicyMap platform to show other housing options, such as HUD Multifamily Housing properties. It will also show contextual information such as renter cost burdens and aging populations.
Demand for more information about PolicyMap’s partnership with USDA RHS is great. Later this month, I will be presenting information about our mapping work for USDA RHS at the Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s Starting At Home conference. And next month, for the Federal Reserve System’s Connecting Communities Series, I’ll discuss how the USDA RHS data on PolicyMap helps community organizations understand the future of affordable rural housing.