Building Community Data Capacity: Informing Innovative Strategies to Rebuild Demand in Greater Chatham

Blog post by Chris Silber, Sarah Duda, Geoff Smith
March 2020

Institute for Housing Studies   (Chicago)

A critical component of the Institute for Housing Studies’ (IHS) applied research model includes technical assistance to community groups and custom data analysis that illustrates different factors behind changing neighborhood dynamics. For nearly four years, IHS has supported the Greater Chatham Initiative (GCI) with comprehensive data and analysis to inform the deployment of GCI’s housing strategy in Chatham, Avalon Park, Auburn Gresham, and Greater Grand Crossing. These analyses and maps detail how the characteristics of sales vary among the neighborhoods making up the Greater Chatham community, both by the quantity and prices of sales and by market actors.

These data have helped GCI understand how the market context is changing and how interventions may need to shift to achieve program goals. The data have also helped the organization share reliable information to residents and investors and provide valuable data to communicate program outcomes. For IHS, producing these reports in the context of GCI’s expert feedback and constant application to program strategies has helped the Institute refine and develop new indicators and analysis and increase our understanding of how nonprofits use data. 

“The partnership has been great in helping us kind of right-size the market information for a particular neighborhood,” said Nedra Sims Fears, executive director of GCI. “It shows that people are hungry for neighborhood-specific data that has been vetted.”