USDA Rural Development Multi-Family Properties, Updated At Last

Here at PolicyMap, there always seems to be buzz about some new dataset or update, and this November we’re buzzing with housing data. Following on the heels of the HUD Multifamily and CDBG Eligibility updates, we’re excited to announce that the USDA Rural Development Multi-Family dataset is up-to-date. The reason that we’re really excited is that this update comes after a fairly lengthy wait – nearly seven years, in fact.

The USDA Rural Development Multi-Family dataset contains the locations of multi-family complexes that receive loans and grants that can be used by very low- to moderate-income families to subsidize mortgages and make structural improvements. The dataset contains the addresses of these properties, as well as the name of management company, total number units (i.e., subsidized or otherwise) by number of bedrooms, and complex type (e.g., elderly and disabled, families).

We first added this data in 2007, as one of the earliest datasets on PolicyMap. We sent a Freedom of Information Act request for an update to this data in July 2012. And then we waited. And waited. Until finally, this summer, a heroic USDA employee found our file, and “fast-tracked” it to its completion. Then came the small matter of actually making the map.

To plot the location of each multi-family property, it was necessary to geocode the addresses provided by the USDA. In 2007, we were able to geocode 95% of locations and we’re pleased to say that things have since improved. With this latest release, we were able to geocode 98% of the addresses, so more locations are on the map. The other notable change is that you should now see a field that includes the amount of money invested into each complex. This means if you wanted to know, for example, where the largest elderly-designated complexes that received $1,000,000 or more in funding are located, you can now filter by these attributes, as shown below. As always, you can view details of a single complex by clicking on a given point.

The USDA Rural Development Multi-Family dataset proves the old adage to be true: good things come to those who wait. It’s available to all users, in the “Housing” menu.