2020 in Review:
Kinder Institute's Houston Community Data Connections Program
Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed the holiday season, even in the face of the immense change and uncertainty that marked 2020 and continues to unfold. 2021 has already been remarkably eventful, and as we collectively enter a new chapter, our Kinder HCDC team has taken a moment to pause and reflect on our efforts over the past year and envision how we can continue to contribute to the wellbeing of the local community in the coming months. As we do so, here’s a quick summary of our work in 2020.
In early 2020, we launched a sleeker and more intuitive user interface for Kinder HCDC’s website. We also created an updated video tutorial that guides users through the tools and resources that are available on our site. Here are some quick statistics that demonstrate Kinder HCDC’s reach during 2020.
As we all began to grapple with our new reality last March, our Kinder HCDC team felt the urgency and got to work to provide meaningful insight about COVID-19 and our local context. On April 5, we published a blog post as part of the “COVID-19 and Cities” series, discussing the potential impact of our collective effort to stay at home on numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in Harris County. Later that month, we published a blog post on COVID-19 and estimated job loss in Harris County. As the virus continued to gravely affect our community through the fall, we created a dashboard about Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans that shows the number of PPP loans and the amount approved by ZIP codes and industries for loans under $150,000 in Texas. In mid-November, we published a blog that explores the economic impact of the pandemic on the young workers in Greater Houston. Finally, we added a “COVID-Related” category of indicators to the Kinder HCDC dashboard. This designation can be used to help contextualize nonprofits’ response to the pandemic.
We continued to enrich our data dashboard with updated and new indicators. We added a wealth of information about housing in our region, including transaction, eviction and flooding risk data. Our team created a 2020 State of Housing Dashboard that displays key neighborhood-level housing indicators drawn from the inaugural State of Housing in Harris County and Houston report. We also included transportation-related data that provide information about bikeways and transit availability for each neighborhood area.
In addition, we added several new indicators related to various topics, such as food insecurity, civic engagement, arts and cultural assets, access to parks, etc. We also updated crime indicators like the number of crime cases, crimes against society, crimes against persons, and crimes against property based on the City of Houston Police Department’s new crime reporting system. You can find all of the above-mentioned additions in the Full Profile tab of the Community Profile feature.
Training & Collaborations
In 2020, our team proceeded with various training efforts to help build local organizations’ capacity to practically use data in order to advance their priorities. In early spring, just before widespread shutdowns went into effect, our team facilitated a data walk in Third Ward based on the data and the key findings from the Third Ward Comprehensive Needs Assessment. We engaged residents and stakeholders in dialogue around assets and challenges in their own community. The central themes of these discussions were recorded and shared with community development organizations in Third Ward.
In late summer, we crafted a learning module that offers fundamental concepts related to crafting and implementing effective survey instruments. By collaborating with the United Way of Greater Houston, we delivered the training to a group of nonprofits and social service providers. Additionally, we created a story map that explores homeownership in Houston and several factors that facilitate it or impede it among various subgroups, including mortgage interest rates, credit history, financial literacy and more.
In August and November, our team partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Education and the Mayor’s Health Equity Response Task Force and provided training for the Community Health Education Fellows (CHEF) Program, a new effort to help in the fight against COVID-19.
Finally, in December we wrapped up a joint project with Urban Harvest that aimed to develop a data-driven strategy for its newly launched Mobile Market. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the joint team gathered and synthesized both quantitative and qualitative data, crafted a data tool to select partners and site locations, and developed a marketing strategy for the new program. This is a good example of how nonprofits can partner with local data intermediaries, use data to inform decision making for specific programs and ultimately improve outcomes.