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Numerous studies show that positive outcomes like improved health and better education are highly dependent on stable housing. State housing agencies have the capacity to effect real change in places that need it most. North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA) needed to figure out where to target future investments, using data, to effect the greatest improvement in communities across the state. To help consumers, government officials, developers, and housing advocates better understand housing needs and market conditions in their area, NCHFA publishes an annual State of Housing Report, with pertinent housing-related data for every county in the state. The report provides important indicators showing the renter and owner makeup of the county, cost burdens, housing conditions, and more. Initially, the data was published as a spreadsheet. However, numbers on a spreadsheet was difficult to digest for readers. NCHFA replaced the spreadsheet with an interactive map using a self-maintained platform from a large GIS company, but found that updating the data on the map required a massive annual effort from their staff.


In order to inform stakeholders' affordable housing strategies, NCHFA’s Policy and Research team embedded an interactive map from PolicyMap on their website to share data with the public. Instead of needing to gather, process, and manually load all the indicators annually, the data is updated automatically from the PolicyMap database. Additionally, the maps include historical data, which hadn’t previously been available. Some indicators, like eviction, foreclosure, and local homelessness data, were compiled from state sources by NCHFA, and they were able to send this data to PolicyMap for inclusion in their map. With minimal effort, the data is available in a clear, automatically updated, public-facing platform. Consumers, government officials, developers, and housing advocates can easily access data about their communities, which can be used to better understand housing needs and market conditions in their area and inform decision-making around affordable housing strategies.