Monday, March 30, 2015

The Shelter Problem (Total Homeless Population vs. Shelter Provided)

Yesterday, Gartner hosted a BI bake-off at the Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit. As a part of the bake-off, a data set was made available to representatives from Qlik, SAS, Tableau and TIBCO to be used to demonstrate the power of their respective tools.

The same data set was made available for exhibitors to use for displaying BI solutions at their booths. The data set was provided by The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It included data from 2007 - 2013 on the homeless population and can be found here.

For the Slalom exhibit, a team of Peter Gilks, Chris Toomey and yours truly decided to focus on the gap between the total homeless population in each Continuum of Care (CoC) and the number of individuals that are provided shelter.

Alteryx was used to consolidate the tabs for each year, add geospatial data for each CoC, and export the data to a Tableau extract.

Mapbox was used to add a map layer to display each CoC and provide a more stylized map.

The results were visualized using Tableau.

Items that jumped out were a higher percentage of sheltered individuals in the colder northern climates vs. warmer climates. This is most exemplified by NYC, which has the largest homeless population but provides shelter for 95% of homeless individuals. On the other hand, a warmer climate like LA only provides shelter for 24%. Check out the viz below (or if you're at the conference stop by the Slalom booth) to find your own insights. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments area below.

For more information on how you can help, check out HUD's volunteering page.


  1. Really nice viz - love the chart on right. There's some real low % sheltered in some cities- even some cities in the north. Very sad thinking about the struggle some people face.

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