LISC Greater Kansas City Affordable Housing Data Hub Graphic

Data Hub Collects Info to Explore Housing in Kansas City

Affordable housing is in short supply all over the country, and the Kansas City area is no exception. As stakeholders work to find remedies, Regional Housing Partnership (RHP), convened and coordinated by the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) and LISC Greater Kansas City is equipping  them with information to help with the task.

In partnership with LISC Greater Kansas City, MARC has created a Data Hub that collects and analyzes information about everything from housing supply to owner costs to age and income of residents.

The Data Hub, which launched in July 2022, is more than just statistics; there are also data stories that help to put the information into context. For example, one of the data stories offers several stats about affordable housing, including the fact that there is a gap of 64,000 affordable housing units for renters who have low incomes, and that the largest disparity is among families with the lowest incomes.

The RHP’s work encompasses nine counties and 119 cities, and seeks to engage with every entity that works in the housing space.

“We are touching on several areas of the housing system. The goal is to create more housing at more price points of more types across the entire region,” said Katie Killen, MARC Housing Program Manager.

The data and analysis are just one component of the work that RHP is doing, but that information provides a foundation for the work.

Since the launch, RHP has conducted focus groups with some of the partnership’s identified users of the Housing Data Hub, “and that helped shape the next steps, not only in the data that we incorporate into the hub itself, but also adding context with the stories and blogs,” said Erin Cardwell, public health data analyst who works with MARC.

The work is in the “problem-definition phase,” Killen said.

The information that is gathered and analyzed will help “unpack these questions that we know keep coming up for our stakeholders,” Cardwell said.

The idea, Killen said, is to provide context about what the region is facing in terms of affordable housing so that policymakers have an idea of how to proceed to resolve the issues.

Once a stakeholder can understand the scope of the issue, they can zero in on a place where help is needed, and the information from the Data Hub can help them as they apply for grants to address specific issues.

Other interested parties may be able to use the data to inform their understanding and give context to the problem.

The data comes from many sources, and Cardwell describes the hub as a “living, breathing tool” that can be updated as needs and populations change.