Tuesday, July 2, 2013

BIG Data: 10 Million Pieces of Data For 4 Years of HUD Voucher Data Now Available, Including Moving to Work Data.

It's hard for me to believe but July 4th marks the start of my 7th year in retirement. To celebrate the occasion I put together another BIG data post.

Last June I created and posted an Excel workbook with 3 years of HUD Voucher data from the Voucher Management System. (Prior post HERE).

I have now added CY 2012 data to the prior data to create a single Excel workbook with 4 calendar years of voucher data, HERE with a permanent link added to the right pane as Voucher VMS Data, US and Oregon: CY 2009-CY2012

(The Excel file is too large to embed in this post; the HUD source page for VMS data is HERE, and it includes links to a data dictionary as well as the source data).

The Excel file is LARGE at about 60 MB's because, for the US, the data file contains 89 data elements in 112,800+ rows for 2,300+ housing authorities; that's more than 10 million individual pieces of data.

Included in the workbook are pivot tables for both US and Oregon voucher data; the 89 different data fields included in each worksheet are listed vertically in the READ ME worksheet in the workbook.  

Oregon Monthly Summary for December 2009-2012
For Oregon for December of 2009,2010,2011,and 2012. there is also a summary by housing authority of:
  • The count of vouchers in use.
  • The total cost for housing assistance payments.
  • My calculated per unit monthly cost for housing assistance payments.
At the VERY end of this post I have embedded a PDF version of this Oregon specific worksheet; a direct link is HERE.

MTW Field Added
The last worksheet in this workbook is a new worksheet I put together that lists all 35 HUD designated MTW agencies as of June 2013 and their HUD ID's. (4 additional MTW PHA's selected in December 2012 are not included). 

Using this list I added a data field to the four year voucher data showing the MTW status of each agency, so pivot tables can now used to see how MTW agency voucher use compares with other non MTW agencies. 

Note that because voucher funding is fungible with some MTW agencies, the count of vouchers shown in the VMS database may not include all families receiving voucher funded assistance being provided by that housing authority.

I believe this is by far the most extensive set of HUD voucher data that is available to the public. A look at the field names in the READ ME worksheet provides a good idea about the depth and wide variety of the data that can be retrieved using the included Pivot Table worksheets.

Examples of Data Retrievable with Pivot Tables (All comparisons are between December 2011 and December 2012 VMS data):

  1. Average per unit monthly HAP costs were reduced by 5.5%/$29 a month, from $492 to $463. [A likely cause of this could be a change in payment standards and/or a shift to smaller average bedroom sizes; changes in the quality of data reporting could also play a role].
  2. Total reported vouchers in use (excluding mainstream)  increased by 3,344/10.5% from 31,922 to 35,266 .[See important note 3 under "US" below].

  1. Total reported vouchers in use (excluding mainstream)  increased by 232,971 vouchers/11.1%  from 2,107,656 to 2,340,627 vouchers. 
  2. 35 MTW agencies accounted for 12.1% of vouchers in use as of December 2012 (282,383 of 2,340,627 vouchers). [There are more than 2,300 housing authorities who report the use of HUD vouchers]. 
  3. There was a substantial increase in vouchers in use reported from June to July 2012. The increase was 8.8%/187,000+ vouchers in one month. CLEARLY their was some unexplained change in reporting that occurred during that period. This was a fiscal year change for many PHA's, but the change in vouchers in use during the same periods during prior fiscal years was much smaller. It is possible that improved reporting from Moving to Work agencies may account for some of the change. (I have pointed out this unexplained significant increase to HUD HQS but did not receive a response by the time of this posting). 

  1. Changes in the quality of VMS reporting could account for some of the differences in costs and vouchers in use. (See comment 3 under "US" above).
  2. The data worksheets are composed of 16 different worksheets I individually imported into one workbook; while I made every effort to avoid errors it is always possible that I made some transposition errors. IF you discover any please let me know and I will post a corrected version of the workbook.
  3. Because of timing it is unlikely that this data  incorporates any direct results from sequestration. I would expect to see reductions in reported vouchers in use once sequestration begins to take hold. 
PDF embed of Oregon voucher worksheet, for December of 2009-2012, is below: 

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog

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