Hey there, readers! Today, let’s dive into a topic that has us here at AMA buzzing with excitement and potential – how PHAs… that’s you… can harness the power of technology to bring positive changes to your agencies, programs, and families.
We have already begun swimming around in this topic with our blog on going paperless, so if you haven’t read that one yet, you definitely want to go do that. It’s full of valuable information that will help you get started down this road that will bring your agency into the 21st century.
So, grab your virtual hardhats, and a significant dose of open mindedness, because we’re about to explore the fantastic ways in which technology can reshape the landscape of public housing.
The Digital Revolution in Public Housing
PHAs have a critical role to play in providing safe, affordable housing to individuals and families in need. But with the rise of technology, there’s a golden opportunity to enhance the way these agencies operate, making processes more efficient, transparent, and user-friendly. And what we all experienced during the pandemic proved to everyone just how valuable technology can be when it allowed so many of us to continue to operate and serve our communities.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways tech can improve your agencies operations:
- Streamlined Processes: Paper applications, long waiting times, the administrative shuffle sound familiar? For those of you still juggling these unfortunate side effects, those days can be numbered. With the use of an online portal, applicants and landlords can easily submit their information, upload documents, and track the progress of their application in real time. This not only simplifies the process but also reduces administrative burdens, allowing staff to focus on more impactful tasks.
- Data-Driven Decision Making: With the right tools, like AMA’s very own AMAzing QC, PHAs can now make smarter decisions backed by real data. By analyzing trends and patterns, agencies can allocate resources more effectively, identify areas of improvement, and tailor their services to match the needs of their communities. Tools like AMAzing QC are so valuable because they help you stay one step ahead and make decisions for your agency based on real time data and not guess work. It’s like having a crystal ball that predicts housing demands and preferences.
- Smart Inspections, Maintenance, and Repairs: The days of tenants submitting maintenance requests via phone calls and waiting indefinitely are over. New technology can enable residents to report issues through apps or online portals. This not only speeds up the repair process but also ensures that resources are allocated where they’re most needed. Certain tech can even allow you to implement virtual inspections to assess properties without an inspector having to be physically present. Interestingly enough, AMA pioneered this very thing during the pandemic. PHAs who were able to adopt this virtual inspection format were able to continue operating and avoid the major backlog that would have happened otherwise.
By tapping into the tech resources we had available, we were able to create a ground-breaking innovative solution for managing inspections. It was this technology that allowed us to fill a very big need and keep families in their homes. Take a look at our very own SHERLOQ for more info and get started on the road to revolutionizing how your PHA handles inspections.
- Enhanced Communication: Technology bridges gaps and fosters better communication between agencies, residents, and landlords. From online newsletters to community forums and event calendars, online platforms can keep everyone informed about policy changes, upcoming events, and opportunities for engagement. If you have been struggling to communicate with and retain landlords for your HCV program, listen to Episode 2 of The PHA Podcast and thank us later. No matter how you package it, the transparency technology allows builds trust and a sense of community.
- Training and Professional Development: Behind the scenes, technology offers your staff the chance to expand their skills and knowledge through online training programs. This not only enhances the expertise of the workforce but also brings fresh perspectives and ideas to the table.
Embracing Change: Challenges and Solutions
Of course, adopting new technology isn’t always easy. There will be challenges along the way, such as ensuring data security, addressing the digital divide, and training staff to effectively use new tools. However, these challenges can be met with proactive measures:
- Invest in Cybersecurity: To protect sensitive information and maintain public trust, it’s crucial to prioritize the safety of your agency’s and your family’s sensitive data. Implement robust encryption, regular system audits, and employee training to create a secure digital environment.
- Bridge the Digital Divide: Not everyone has equal access to technology. PHAs can partner with community centers or libraries to provide computer access and digital literacy programs for those who need it. For other ideas of how to bridge this gap, take a look at our blog on this hot topic!
- Comprehensive Training: Introducing technology requires proper training. Agencies should invest in training programs that empower staff to leverage new tools effectively, boosting their confidence and efficiency.
In a world where technology is rapidly changing the way we live, PHAs have an exciting opportunity to transform their agencies for the better. From simplifying processes to enhancing communication, technology opens doors to innovation that can make a meaningful impact on both staff and residents.
So, let’s raise a digital toast to a future where public housing is not only about bricks and mortar but also about digital empowerment, efficiency, and community engagement. It’s time to embrace the potential of technology and create a brighter, more connected world of public housing.