The goal of the New York City Housing and Neighborhood Information System (NYCHANIS) is to equip local housing organizations and community development corporations throughout the city with the tools they need to provide disadvantaged New Yorkers with quality, affordable housing. These groups need access to data and information about their neighborhoods so that they can assess community needs, plan effective programs, and compete for public and private funding.
There is currently a wealth of up-to-date, relevant data about New York City's neighborhoods; unfortunately, adequate access to this data does not exist. In addition to the problem of data accessibility, additional difficulties face local groups because they often suffer from a lack of knowledge about each other's activities, as well as the policies and initiatives of the city's housing agency, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).
The NYCHANIS project will address these problems by:
1. Creating an online information system where housing organizations, CDCs, community service organizations, and interested individuals can go to find current, relevant data about their neighborhoods. The system will include data on housing stock, homeownership, housing affordability, housing quality, mortgage lending, foreclosures, property tax delinquencies, land use, population, racial composition, immigration, income, public assistance, local business, employment, public schools, and crime.
2. Making this online data access searchable and providing choices for how to receive data, such as pre-formatted tables or downloadable spreadsheet files.
3. Providing an online GIS mapping function that will allow users to create printable thematic maps of any of the variables available in the system, or to query interactively the database through a graphic map interface.
4. Creating an online Housing and Neighborhood Information Exchange, which will have two components. The discussion forums will provide issue-specific forums where users can post questions and comments and receive answers and feedback from other users, as well as from housing experts from HPD, who will monitor the forums regularly. Scheduled real-time chat sessions will provide access to housing officials from HPD and allow for open discussion of housing issues, dissemination of information from HPD, and feedback to HPD about users' needs and concerns.
5. Providing training workshops on use of the website, sources of relevant data, proper interpretation of data, data presentation techniques, and strategic use of data for program planning. Workshop training materials will also be available online.
The NYCHANIS project will empower local housing and community groups to improve the housing situation of underserved New Yorkers, saving time and improving efficiency for these dedicated public servants.