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Palm Beach County

The Department of Housing & Community Development in Palm Beach County wanted to ensure that CDBG funds went to areas of critical need, and they knew that some "pockets of poverty" did not qualify because they were hidden in the aggregated block group level data provided by HUD. So they hired DevPlan, Inc. to develop estimates of median household income at the block level and to create block level maps to help them identify proposed project areas along the lines of qualifying blocks. They now have more projects to choose from due to their ability to qualify smaller areas.

They've been using this data for more than a year, and HCD staff reports they now have the means for confidently identifying the areas that are most deserving of CDBG funds, and they have used this block level data to reject areas that are less deserving. Their block level, full color maps (at a scale of six inches to the mile) make identifying areas far easier than it has ever been before.

CDBG funds to Palm Beach County may not be increased by this procedure, but the number of people living in qualifying areas is increased. The number of people in areas qualifying at the 70% level is 62,447 when the HUD aggregated block data is used, but when block level data is used, 117,855 people live in qualifying areas. The number of people living in areas qualifying at 70% has been nearly doubled simply by using block level data for analysis.

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