Week 9: The Final Push

After scrambling the past couple of weeks with paper submission deadlines and the mid-program presentation, we are now working on re-running our models, finalizing our estimates, and making updates to our interactive tools. Time is of the essence, as we need to have everything wrapped up and ready to pass along in less than two weeks.

We realized last week that our original income model based on home characteristics was providing some strange results, and incomes well above the IRS distribution for the region. This was causing us to under predict eligibility based on income, so we modified our model by creating dummy variables in the Consumer Expenditure Survey data to classify properties in the south, in urban areas, and with black owners. All of these characteristics are representative of the eligible neighborhoods in Westside Atlanta, and accounting for them in our modeling gave us results on a household level that more accurately mirror the IRS income distribution and actual incomes in the area. We are also re-running the other pieces of our models, including the owner-occupancy classification, total program costs under different scenarios, and the home value appreciation clusters for Old Fourth Ward and the Westside.

Above: Map of clusters of homes in Old Fourth Ward and Westside neighborhoods, based on property appreciation trends and important home characteristics

As we enter into the final stages of our project, we have set up meetings with our community partners to receive feedback on our interactive mapping tools. On Monday, we met with members of the Westside Atlanta Land Trust (WALT) to discuss the eligibility tool. While we got great feedback on our progress, we still have some important changes to make, including implementing an edit functionality that will allow residents to update or approve their information in the database. This function will hopefully provide some ownership, oversight, and verification of the data, as owners know their own household characteristics best. We are also working on reformatting the information displayed about the properties and creating a dropdown box for sensitive data, such as lien data and estimated income. It is vital to be careful and respectful with how we display community members’ personal data.

We are now also making good progress on the Harbour Portfolio (predatory lending) mapping tool. On Thursday, we will have a meeting with Sarah Stein from Atlanta Legal Aid to demonstrate our progress, including new demographic overlays, a Zillow search function, and classification of properties owned by plaintiffs. The tool is also now hosted on the Georgia Tech server! You can see our login page at: dssg.gatech.edu/housing.

Above: Current progress on our Harbour mapping tool

We’re hoping to have our modeling and web applications completed by Wednesday evening so that we can spend Thursday and Friday making our poster and preparing for the final presentation on Monday. Time is flying!