Community Assets, Data

How well do you know your neighborhood?

By Michelle Jones, GIS Analyst, The Polis Center

How familiar are you with the resources in your neighborhood? School corporation? Service area? Our SAVI team recently published 2012 community resources data to help you explore these questions and more!!

There are a few ways to access the resources in your community. One is by using SAVI’s community profiles. These help you to quickly visualize resources by neighborhood, county, township, and more.

For example, imagine your organization wants to start a new employment services program, but you want to be sure to target a location that meets the greatest need and fills an existing service gap. Using SAVI, you could first identify the areas with high unemployment rates. Here’s a map showing percentage of unemployed persons by Township. The darker the color, the higher the unemployment rate.

Map1

We can see high areas of unemployment in many of the SAVI counties, but let’s take a closer look at Madison County.  Let’s also identify where current employment programs are located in Madison County.

Map2

There are a handful of employment programs in Madison County in the area where unemployment rates are highest, but there appears to be an unmet need in Elwood and in the southwest corner of Anderson.   You now have a good starting point to inform your decision.  From here, you may want to explore the specific types of employment programs that exist; contact the existing providers to learn more about their capacity to serve (are they over capacity, are they only open certain hours, do they only serve particular populations); and use other sources to identify known challenges of the unemployed or under-employed population.  Data does not solve the problem for you, but it should inform your decision-making process.

This example shows how SAVI can assist with new program location, but other common uses of SAVI are:

  • Target audience identification
  • New program location
  • Identification of areas of need
  • Trend identification
  • Community assessment
  • Grant application development
  • Strategic planning
  • Membership/client mapping

SAVI can improve the way your organization or community makes decisions, giving you the data and tools and guiding you through a process to make more informed decisions. SAVI helps you turn data into action to improve your community.

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