Yesterday Massachusetts Housing Partnership’s (MHP) Center for Housing Data officially launched DataTown, a new interactive website of community-level information for all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. The database combines data from the United States Census Bureau, the State Department of Education, and the state Division of Local Services, among other sources, creating a one-stop shop for community snapshots and trends for population growth, housing production, demographics, employment, commuting, income, affordability, racial composition, and more.
CHAPA looks forward to using this database to advance our legislative priorities and our Municipal Engagement Initiative. “DataTown makes it simple to quickly grab the key components of each community’s housing story,” said Dana LeWinter, CHAPA’s Municipal Engagement Director. “By limiting the time we have to spend gathering data, we can jump right into the interesting conversations about how best to assist each community in reaching their goals. DataTown is helping us to identify communities that have similar housing needs and concerns, making it easier to reach out for best practices and lessons learned. We are very excited that DataTown is now available to every community in Massachusetts and know it will spark thoughtful dialogue at the local level.”
DataTown was born out of the increased need for data to understand housing needs of a community. “Increasingly, we were relying on data to help tell a town’s story and to start a conversation about housing needs and how to identify ways in which the community can address them,” said Susan Connelly, MHP’s Director of Community Assistance. “DataTown gives us the ability to provide up-to-date information to cities and towns who are trying to understand and address their needs for housing.”
The co-directors of MHP’s Center for Housing Data, Tom Hopper and Callie Clark serve on Governor Baker’s interagency housing task force and provided analysis that helped shape the Housing Choice Initiative and companion legislation. Their hope is for DataTown to be paired with other housing resources like the Massachusetts Housing Toolbox, a comprehensive website filled with resources to help communities increase their supply of housing. “DataTown will strive to provide up-to-date data analysis that will to help local leaders understand and explain what’s going on so they can build strategies to address their housing needs,” said Clark. “Housing Toolbox provides the context, explains all the resources and list the tools that are available so that communities can spring into action.”
DataTown is welcoming feedback on how it can be a more effective tool for your community. To make comments, suggestions or get more information, contact Tom Hopper at email@example.com, Callie Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lucas Munson at email@example.com.
All quotes attributed to https://www.mhp.net/news/2019/mhps-center-for-housing-data-launches-dat…