White House touts data as way to help those in need

White House touts data as way to help those in need
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The White House on Monday rolled out a project designed to make it easier for developers to use government data to help those in need at the local level.

The Opportunity Project collects datasets on a new website that developers can use for their projects.

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“This data can now be used by technologists, community groups, and local governments in order to help families find affordable housing, help businesses identify services they need, and help policymakers see inequities in their communities and make investments to expand fair housing and increase economic mobility,” the White House said in a fact sheet.

People interested in the program can talk with others on Slack, the popular workplace chat application, and on Github.

The White House also announced that several companies had already built tools using the data. Real estate search website Zillow, for example, created a tool that looks for good places to put affordable housing.

The announcement also included commitments from other groups and companies to use the data. Seven coding bootcamps will also incorporate the datasets into their curriculum for people learning programming.

It’s the latest effort by the Obama administration to open up access to government data. Previous projects have focused on topics like health and the environment.

The announcement comes right before President Obama speaks at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. Obama said in his weekly address on Saturday that he would “ask everyone for ideas and technologies that can help update our government and our democracy to be as modern and dynamic as America itself” while at the festival.