Pilot Atlas of the Risk of Homelessness

Check out this new resource. Pretty cool. My good friend Tracey was one of the persons involved in making this a reality. As she says in her blog posting on this:

The Atlas will soon be going live and I hope it starts a conversation between geographers, geomaticians, data providers and colleagues and front line workers in the social sector. We discovered that you have to mortgage the house to purchase data to study homelessness at a national scale in this country! Surely, that cannot be the sign of a democracy!

Pilot Atlas of the Risk of Homelessness

Executive Summary

The Pilot Cybercartographic Atlas of Risk of Homelessness is the first national and city scale mapping endeavour that represents risk of homelessness data in an interactive fashion using timelines, different scales and associated text and charts including regional and local scales. The Pilot Atlas of the Risk of Homelessness renders in maps and interactive graphs well defined and accepted Canadian risk indicators such as vacancy rates and rental markets, rent geared to income units, families spending 50% of their income on rent and housing starts. When these indicators are visualized in an engaging manner readers can more readily distinguish trends, patterns and issues that cannot be conveyed in static data tables. Atlas modules include the visualization of indicators across time at three scales: Canada, 23 municipalities and 3 featured cities/metropolitan areas. The City of Toronto provides data to show their aging social housing stock; poverty and the disproportionate spending on rent are explored in City of Calgary neighbourhoods while la Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) tells the story of social housing and housing affordability for lower-income renting populations. An interactive GraphoMap shows Vacancy rates, housing starts, and 50%+ spent on rent for 24 cities at three time points while the Canada map shows the rate of change between renters and owners over time. A map of Canada shows the rate of change between renters and owners and clearly demonstrates data issues associated with Canada’s ever changing and incompatible statistical geographic units.

The Atlas is intended as a pilot to demonstrate to a variety of stakeholders that cartographers, geographers and subject matter specialists can work together to create engaging, understandable and useful visual content representing the structural issues of homelessness in Canada. Modules are created with stakeholders so that they may use these to inform public policy. The Atlas is designed using the Nunaliit Cybercartographic Atlas Framework which is an open source software designed at the GCRC specifically to ensure that others can add content to it. For example, a research group, a community group or other cities may have data they have collected during the course of their work or research that could easily be rendered into maps of this kind and be added as a module. This is a living Atlas created specifically for that purpose – to continuously expand on this story and to disseminate the data in a way that is easily understandable. The Atlas could expand to include not only risk of homelessness data but also population health and homelessness, absolute homelessness and housing themes along the continuum of homelessness. Finally, access to and cost of public statistical data were considered barriers to the creation of some content, especially in the social sector.

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