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FTS: The Politics of Housing and Homelessness: Community Data

Getting Started

Finding information about a local community can be exciting and also has its own challenges. Use the various resources on this page to explore various options for accessing information, ideas on who might have information about your topic, and troubleshooting tips. Feel free to contact Julie with any questions or if you want more ideas on how and where to search for your specific topic.

State & Country Information

In the US, many states have robust websites that will contain - among other things - information and statistics about local communities. It may take a little digging to uncover the information you're looking for, but be persistent and contact me if you need help. I've listed some examples from the State of Minnesota & the US government below; use these or see if you can find relevant pages for different states OR countries, depending on your community:

  • Geographic Profiles with statewide, regional and local data - from Minnesota Compass
  • Community Profiles (Twin Cities metro area only) from the Metropolitan Council
  • State of Minnesota is the web portal to exploring resources provided by the state; most states will have a similar portal. Spend some time searching to find information, statistics, and the agencies and individuals who might be talking about your problem. You might also want to consult the Minnesota State Demographic Center.
  • Statistical Abstracts Series: includes hundreds of tables of figures on population, economics, social factors in the US; the most recent volume (2021) is available in print at the small shelves near the Reference Desk.
  • is the US government's official web portal. If your local community is not within the US, see if your country has a similar portal (most will), as well as searching your local province or state websites.
  • US Census Bureau provides access to all kinds of data from US communities; look for options to search local data

Here are two guides that include links to all kind of additional statistical sources online:

Mankato & Nicollet Information

Here are some resources that will help you explore the communities of Mankato and Nicollet. Browse the recommended resources to find statistics, data, reports, etc. You can also look to see if these communities have any commissions or boards studying housing issues. Also read the city council minutes to find out if and how they're discussing housing:

Related nonprofits in the area:

Local Information Sources

Here's a list of the kinds of organizations and groups that tend to have the kind of local information you're researching. Most communities will have some range of these resources, so do some web searching (and reach out to me) to explore.

  • Town/City Government - most towns will have a main government page where you should be able to find meeting minutes and other relevant info about how the town may/may not be addressing housing issues
  • Public Library - your local library will be an excellent source for finding local information. Librarians know the communities they serve, so they will be able to point you to local resources you may not have considered. Give them a call or see if their website has an online contact form.
  • Local News Outlets - does your community have a local newspaper? What about a local television station? Check out their web pages to see if they've been discussing your problem. If you run into a paywall with a local paper, email Julie.
  • Nonprofits - are there local nonprofit groups that might be discussing homelessness or housing? Search online to locate relevant ones for your community.
  • Faith communities - to what degree are you local churches, temples and mosques involved in this issue? Are there other faith communities that might be a part of this conversation?
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