By Jenny Connelly-Bowen, CBN Graduate Research Assistant

John Cruz

John Cruz at last month’s historic home move in the St. Louis Place neighborhood

Today, we’re sharing a new mapping tool that Rise Community Development (Rise) Data Management Coordinator John Cruz introduced last week. John works with data and mapping technology to help Rise and their community partner organizations better understand their environments, tell compelling stories, and make a positive impact in the neighborhoods where they work. He has a Bachelor of Science in Web Development from Baker College and a Master of Urban Planning from Wayne State University. John is originally from Detroit, but moved here with his wife Kaitlin in 2015.

Like many organizations across the country, Rise uses federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) to fund development projects that bring quality affordable housing to all kinds of communities. Rise’s interactive LIHTC Explorer uses data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) LIHTC database to map every LIHTC development completed between 1987 and 2014 in Missouri and Illinois, the two states where Rise operates. You can click on individual markers to view a project’s name, address, number of dwellings, and year placed in service.

This map marks hundreds of LIHTC-funded developments in and around the St. Louis region, but it also shows that LIHTCs have had a big impact on communities all over Missouri and Illinois during the past 30 years. As John points out in his news post introducing the LIHTC Explorer, the map “shows that communities everywhere face a need for quality affordable housing, regardless of how dense their local area is, what way they lean politically, or what other factors play into their way of life. This is a need that affects every type of place where people live.”

As you navigate the map, note that some projects in HUD’s database did not contain addresses and thus could not be included. John also notes that the name of a project’s developer or company could refer to a development partnership created specifically for that development—not necessarily the entity that’s responsible for the development. Something to keep in mind if you decide to dig deeper on any of these projects!



Thanks again to John for allowing us to share his work! To access maps from previous editions of the Community Builders Exchange, click here.