Cleveland Neighborhood Progress unveils its Progress Index; Neighborhood data tool will help drive community improvement

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress has introduced a new resource for Cleveland’s
community development corporations and other partners investing in neighborhood revitalization. The Progress Index is a neighborhood data tool developed by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University. The goal of the tool is to equip community development practitioners with housing and economic mobility data so that they may better understand neighborhood dynamics, monitor trends, develop solutions, and use data to measure organizational and/or programmatic outcomes.

Neighborhood Progress President & CEO, Joel Ratner, notes that the organization has been working on this tool for a number of years. “We have been developing the Progress Index so we and our CDC partners can better understand the true characteristics of Cleveland neighborhoods and gear programs and investments into areas that can most benefit the residents living there.”

The data presented within the Progress Index supports two important progress metrics: property data and income data. The progress drivers that will be continually monitored include: population, safety, stabilization, community, health, education, workforce, and economy. Users can evaluate how individual neighborhoods measure on these progress drivers over time. The Progress Index will track and monitor neighborhood statistics year by year. Cleveland CDCs are encouraged to assess the data frequently and strive to positively affect neighborhood conditions over time. It is anticipated that Cleveland CDCs will utilize this data for neighborhood planning and strategic planning, internal dashboards and program evaluation, grant writing, proposals and neighborhood storytelling. Additionally, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress will use the Progress Index for grant proposals and reporting, neighborhood and grantee storytelling and monitoring neighborhood trends and change.

“Equipped with trend data, communities can engage in well-informed conversations and chart a realistic course of action”, says Claudia Coulton, Co-Director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University. As a community development intermediary, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress provides operational funding to CDCs as well as training and capacity building programs. Jamar Doyle, Executive Director of Collinwood Nottingham Village Development Corp. and collaborating partner with nearby Northeast Shores Development Corp. states, “The Progress Index has helped our
organizations make data-driven decisions about strategic programming. Most recently, this new community development tool was used extensively in our joint planning efforts around real estate rehabilitation.”

The Progress Index is now accessible to the public at Data for 2017 is anticipated by mid-year and Neighborhood Progress will introduce a new “State of Cleveland’s Neighborhoods” report derived from this data in late summer 2018. The organization will also host training and feedback sessions for community partners over the next six months.