Over the course of the last few months, Data Stories and The Bureau Local have been collaborating on an investigation into homelessness and housing benefits in Britain. The #LockedOut investigation gathered property data from across Britain in a one-day snapshot, then sent local journalists into the field, to investigate the situation on the ground in their local areas.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is calculated based on the rental prices of the local area, with the intention of allowing recipients to afford the cheapest 30% of properties. However, the #LockedOut investigation discovered that the proportion of properties actually available on the market that were affordable was considerably less that this in many areas. In addition to this, even when properties were affordable, half of the contacted landlords refused to rent properties to someone receiving housing benefit, and most of the remainder insisted on strict conditions, such as providing 6 months’ rent in advance.
As part of the collaboration, Data Stories helped to gather data and create a visualisation that allows people to can check the proportion of affordable properties in their local area. Try it for yourself!
One of the key question Data Stories seeks to answer his how personalisation and localisation of data aids engagement – with this tool, we hope to support people in finding data that is relevant to them, and to their local area. You can read the full details of the Bureau’s investigation here.