Looking for housing can be tough — and keeping a tight budget can be even tougher. Enter the Affordable Rental Properties in Chicago app, developed for Windows by Microsoft Chicago Fellow Mel Rush.
Available for Windows, Affordable Rental Properties in Chicago searches and filters through rental properties to help find properties that are not only affordable, but offer a safe and exciting environment. The app takes into consideration various factors, including local crime rate and local grocery stores with real time results. The affordable rental housing developments that it provides are supported by the City of Chicago to maintain affordability standards.
Rush has been working with Microsoft Chicago on plenty of fields, including working with open data, being a voice at user groups and hackathons citywide, and supporting tech events. She says the idea for the app came to her during an Open Gov Hack Night, which she attended with Adam Hecktman, where the topic of discussion was issues Chicago residents experience with housing.
“I looked around the data portal and saw there was a data set for rental properties in Chicago,” Rush explained. “I thought it would be interesting to combine data sets to make it more useful for people.”
Crime and grocery store data were already an established hit on the city’s data portal, Rush says. It was a natural fit to combine this data with affordable housing so that people can make good choices informed by the crime profile of their neighborhood, as well as ability of fresh food. She would like to expand on filters and highlights in the app.
“Right now I’m working on a feature that adds which schools are in the area of each rental property,” she told us. “I also want to start taking recreation into account: what parks are in the area, what movies play in the parks in Chicago, and focus on entertainment in these neighborhoods.”
What works in Chicago can work outside of Chicago. Hopefully Rush’s updates will allow her to develop affordable housing apps outside of Chicago in other cities that are committed to open data.
“Right now I want to get all the data in the Chicago app,” she says. “If it turns out really well and people like it, I would like to expand it to other cities.”