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Posted by Allegra East on Mar 3, 2017

SAVI Community Assessment and Planning Tool

Assessing your community’s needs and assets is an important first step in planning community improvements. In fact, users report “community assessments” as the number one use of the SAVI community information system, helping them make more informed decisions about program priorities and identifying existing community resources.

We’ve made this process much simpler for you with the easy-to-use SAVI Community Assessment & Planning Tool. The big improvement is that it streamlines planning, pulling together the most critical demographic, socio-economic, and community asset data. It is the perfect resource to help you quickly identify areas of concern and disparities by race, age, gender, income, and education level.

How does this differ from SAVI’s other tools? It draws in the same detailed data you are accustomed to in SAVI, but it saves you the hassle of mining thousands of data options and from having to summarize your data and create custom charts and maps. This tool does it all for you, saving hours of data compilation.

Users walk through a basic community assessment framework, which provides data to support each step: assess needs, identify assets, and define gaps and opportunities. It allows you to define a custom geographic area, view dashboards, and drill into interactive data visualizations. The data format makes it easy for nonprofits to understand needs, socio-economic and geographic disparities, existing programming, and gaps in their service area.

The greatest innovation is that it generates a custom and updatable report containing the assessment data and visualizations for a chosen geography in Central Indiana in an editable MS Word format. You can then continue customizing it with your own data and narrative.  Please check it out!

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Posted by Allegra East on Feb 23, 2017

IndyVitals Can Help Your Organization Make Indy a Better Place to Live and Work

Organizations from multiple sectors trying to make Indianapolis a great place to live and work have faced the challenge of telling a common story about a particular neighborhood and making meaningful comparisons. Each entity sees a different version about a neighborhood from its perspective, which impacts the effectiveness of varied efforts to transform negative conditions into positive ones. In essence, apples are compared to oranges rather than apples to apples.

IndyVitals offers a user-friendly digital solution to this problem. The tool puts everyone on the same page, puts the data in a common framework, and simplifies access, revealing the areas of critical need and opportunity in Indianapolis neighborhood areas to guide more successful endeavors to develop and improve these communities. All organizations are able to see the same data and read the same story, responding with programs, resources, and initiatives that are relevant to the specific needs of every neighborhood.

The true power of IndyVitals is its ability to coordinate actions of community partners through data. This consequently aligns diverse planning partners toward a common goal and better organizes municipal government using common “building blocks” of neighborhood geographies.

As data can be very complex, IndyVitals offers a range of approaches to tell the story for each neighborhood. A simple one-page dashboard for neighborhood quickly tells residents and leaders how a neighborhood area has changed and how it compares to other areas or the metro. For those who want to dive deeper, such as policy analysts and decision-makers, the tool provides charts and maps that review trends, comparisons, and disparities by race, age, income, and education levels.

For organizations involved in quality-of-life, social services, and economic development programming, the tool provides a common geographical approach that tells a single story. It helps measure progress and the success of efforts.  It identifies a neighborhood’s greatest strengths and gaps in services, and targets the people and assets that can efficiently and effectively transform negatives into positives. The expectation is that multiple agencies will read the same story, resulting in greater synergy in making Indianapolis a great place to live and work.

 

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Posted by Allegra East on Nov 21, 2016

The Affordable Housing Market and Why It Matters

affordable-housing-report-cover-finalIndianapolis is routinely recognized as one of the more affordable regional housing markets in the nation. This relative affordability lies within the eye of the beholder as Indianapolis also fares relatively poorly in income inequality. To many low-and moderate-income households, the housing of their choice may be out of reach. Urban Analyst John Marron looks more deeply into this issue in the report, The Affordable Housing Market and Why It Matters, produced in partnership with The Polis Center at IUPUI for the SAVI community information system. The central theme of the report: affordable housing encompasses a broader range of economic issues than the price of a home.

In this report, we define the terms, affordable housing and subsidized housing, and explore the drivers and interrelatedness of each. We also look at general policy challenges in creating adequate affordable housing and the reason why it is a relevant policy goal, especially for low-income families. In addition, we provide a brief examination of policy options for local governments and civic leaders who have an interest in local and regional housing policy. All of this discussion is placed alongside relevant data for Central Indiana, Marion County, and Indianapolis.

Housing affordability is measured by the cost of housing relative to income. Solutions to make housing more affordable should include solutions oriented toward promoting the development of affordable housing as well as increasing the earning potential of low- and moderate-income families. Making housing cheaper allows households to afford housing; raising incomes allows households to better afford everything. Despite its reputation, Central Indiana can do better in helping its citizens become less cost-burdened by housing.

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