How Data Drives Louisiana’s Affordable Housing Policies

From affordable housing initiatives to disaster recovery programs, data and research is the foundation of everything we do at the Louisiana Housing Corporation.

Over the past three years, we’ve dramatically stepped up our research operations to ensure we’re implementing the most effective housing policies to serve the citizens and communities of Louisiana.

At the LHC, we have a dedicated team of data-driven decision-makers who are committed to identifying shared solutions to eradicate the barriers to affordable housing such as lack of financing, housing stock shortages, poverty and many other economic factors. Here’s how we do it.

Expanding Our Capabilities

Louisiana’s affordable housing shortage is a complex issue that touches every corner of our state. It’s an ever-moving target that requires innovative solutions and partnerships to address challenges that cover a wide range of issues — from homelessness to first-time homebuyers to private housing development.

To address these issues and meet our commitment to community development and accessible housing, the LHC’s Policy and Strategic Initiatives Team uses strategic planning, GIS mapping, data analysis and performance management. The team employs innovative housing strategies that include the integration of technology, best practices and research to better align the state housing needs with the available funding resources.

We also manage the engagement of key partnerships necessary to create a comprehensive housing strategy. We do this by working to improve the quality of housing for vulnerable households using a wide range of policy tools — all backed by key research.

The number-crunching doesn’t stop once a program is implemented. We monitor and do post-performance analysis of every program to see what lessons can be learned and whether we are able to reach the targeted goals and key objectives of funding sources.

In our evaluations, we not only analyze program policies but quantify the impact of those policies on target population groups and look to identify program outcomes. For each program or policy, key performance indicators identify areas of success and challenges that present opportunities for growth. If something seems to not be working well, we work to identify and implement solutions.

Incentivizing Development

When we determine a certain community or population is a good candidate for one of our affordable housing programs, we take steps to incentivize development those areas — and it’s all backed up by a large body of research and data by the LHC’s policy team. We face significant challenges regarding housing in the state with limited resources, and data helps us allocate those resources in the most effective ways.

For example, in our 2019 Qualified Allocation Plan, commonly known as the QAP, the LHC adjusted our governmental priority areas to incentivize development in our hard-to-develop areas.

Data and research on housing needs led us to incentivize developments located in areas that have rates above the state average for seniors, people with disabilities, persons who are struggling to pay rent and those in poverty, as well as areas with a household income below the state median.

This data and research help us provide lower-income residents with more access to economic opportunity while preserving and enhancing existing developments.

Maximizing Research Partnerships

Much of what we do in our department is through collaborative work. One of our key partners is LSU’s Department of Public Administration, which helped develop the 2019 Housing Needs Assessment, prepared through an analysis of Louisiana’s regional housing markets.

The 200-page document divided the state into eight regions and provides detailed data on factors such as housing, demographics and employment. It includes numerous graphics, maps and tables to tell the story about Louisiana housing.

We’ve also recently rolled out PolicyMap, an interactive mapping tool aimed at helping the state’s housing advocates, developers and policymakers leverage a wide range of data to make more informed decisions about affordable housing. This powerful and free tool, available for public use, offers on-demand data about housing, health, demographics and much more.

We’re only just getting started. Every year we continue to improve and refine our data and research operations as we continue our mission to ensure that every resident of the state is granted an opportunity to obtain safe, affordable, energy-efficient housing and related services.

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