recommended reading

HUD unveils online app to help grant spending hit home

HUD

The Housing and Urban Development Department has launched a new Web application that will consolidate economic and housing data onto a user-friendly, publicly accessible site.

The app, CPD Maps -- named for HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development -- is part of the department’s eCon Planning Suite, an initiative that uses various tools designed to simplify and improve the process for state and local governments to spend grant money.

“What we really hope to accomplish is for all grantees to really be able to target their projects,” said Yolanda Chavez, deputy assistant secretary of HUD for grant programs.

They will be able to do this, Chavez said, by layering data -- such as poverty rates -- on top of a map that also will show where and how HUD grants have been invested. The site will allow HUD officials, local community leaders and regular citizens to zoom in to the neighborhood and Census Bureau tract level to view hyper-local information.

“It’s important to be able to visualize the data,” Chavez said.

HUD officials anticipate the new tool will allow community members to see where federal dollars are being spent locally and even advocate for projects in their neighborhoods. The site has more than 100 layers of data that users can compare simultaneously or individually, according to HUD officials.

“This is a flagship initiative,” said Thomas Gibbs, an account executive with Esri, the geography technology company that designed the CPD Maps program. “It’s not just a Google map. It’s an analytical map.”

The program was built on Esri’s ArcGIS system. The information on the site includes data from HUD, Census and the American Community Survey, and can be updated regularly. Previously, all this information was stored separately and local governments spent thousands of hours poring through it to determine the best way to spend grant money. Now, HUD and Esri officials said, governments will save time and money as the information now is available in one place.

"This technology that we're providing is going to be really revolutionary in helping all our grantees work smarter," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement.

Meg Barclay, a HUD project manager, said the app will help explain to local communities why some neighborhoods received grants while others did not.

“When you invest in an area,” she said, “you are implicitly not investing in another area. [CPD Maps] will allow you to justify why you spent in certain areas.”

Chavez noted: “It helps to remove politics from the decision making.”

Several mayors, including Houston’s Annise D. Parker and New Orleans’ Mitch Landrieu, have spoken out in support of the new application.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.