The NH Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) administers the State of New Hampshire’s annual federal allocation of Community Development Block Grant funds for eligible municipalities. The primary objective of the program is the development of viable communities by improving economic opportunities and meeting community revitalization needs, particularly for persons of low and moderate income. As part of our mission to support community economic development across New Hampshire, CDFA assembles and uses relevant demographic, fiscal and other data, along with public input, to help guide planning and funding priorities, particularly for the federal Community Development Block Grant program.
This commitment is articulated in CDFA’s Living Strategic Plan:
CDFA looks to meet communities’ self-articulated goals, while fostering more coordinated, long-term thinking about the broader needs of communities on a statewide basis. CDFA will increasingly provide its technical and financial resources to all communities, large and small, and notwithstanding the varying capacities of communities.
In 2019, to meet this goal CDFA embarked on an initiative to update its data collection, analysis and visualization capacity. The initiative has the following components:
- Create a new “Core Data Index” to replace the CDBG “set factors” to measure community need, using more up-to-date, relevant and varied data sources;
- Align data with CDFA strategic priorities, including Basic Human Needs, Access to Opportunity, and Community Sustainability and Vibrancy; and
- Create a data-visualization platform that enables CDFA to display the ‘Core Data Index,’ as well as other data indicators, in a user-friendly and accessible way.
CDFA engaged NH Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) and a fellow from the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire to analyze possible data sources. NHFPI’s recommendations served as the basis for creating the new Core Data Index. The 13 data measures used in the Index are shown on Table 1. CDFA staff created a scoring system that used these measures to develop a maximum total score of 70 points for each municipality or county.
The Core Data Index can be found here.
Each measure within the Core Data Index will be updated annually, and the overall Index will be analyzed and refined over time.
Early in 2020, CDFA will create a visualization platform to display each of the 13 data measures on www.nhcdfa.org. This data-visualization tool will help leaders and stakeholders to see information about their town or county, and to use this information to help develop community economic development plans, initiatives, projects and activities.