Housing authorities such as New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) implement programs to move those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to safe and secure housing. 

Applying for a government subsidy program is not easy—especially for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness. Likewise, accepting housing subsidies can be a burdensome process for landlords, making them less likely to participate in voucher programs.

With our deep understanding of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) voucher processes under which HCR operates, combined with advanced technologies and modern practices to improve user experience, CGI is helping to ease the burden associated with leasing units to those in need.

Moving paper-based processes to digital formats is a key step in easing the administrative burdens of administering housing programs. For example, the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) process, required in housing voucher programs including HUD’s Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) program, can make the difference between acceptance or rejection of an application for program participation.

HUD collects RFTA information for each unit, in compliance with Section 8 of the US Housing Act of 1937, to determine whether the unit is eligible for rental assistance. Failure to complete the form accurately and completely can result in housing placement delays or even the rejection of the RFTA.

Technology drives process improvement

In partnership with CGI, New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) moved the collection of RFTA data from a set of PDF-based paper forms to an electronic submission model. 

HCR and CGI are applying best practices derived from Customer Experience (CX)and DevSecOps, and leveraging Intelligent Automation technologies, to minimize the burden on landlords who want to lease their units to vulnerable populations served by HUD subsidy programs.

In addition, HCR and CGI implemented a secure web application to enable the automated collection of RFTA data. Moving the process from paper-based to online not only makes it easier for landlords to work within the program but also has attracted new landlords. That means more units are available to individuals and families in need. 

Moving to an electronic submission platform also expedites the overall RFTA process, enabling at-risk individuals and families move into their new homes more quickly.

children playing in new house

Housing authorities such as New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) implement programs to move those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to safe and secure housing.

Immersive CX attracts landlords to the program

Paper-based processes often require landlords to fill out the same information multiple times. With the solution CGI and HCR developed, they now use a wizard-based approach built on CX best practices for submitting information. For example, landlords enter personal details on one screen before moving to the next screen, which collects property information. They never need to re-enter information they have already provided. 

family unpacking boxes in new house
woman in wheelchair in living room

RPA and AI speed processing

Simply replacing manual processes with digitization isn’t enough, however. Better results come from rethinking and re-engineering processes to take the fullest advantage of the technology. At HCR, CGI re-engineered legacy processes to enable adoption of artificial intelligence for processing RFTA submissions, including document analysis, natural language processing, and handwriting recognition. A robot (based on Robotic Process Automation, or RPA) reviews information submitted by the landlord and identifies exceptions in business validations that must be reviewed. If no exceptions are found, the robot automatically creates and sends the landlord a PDF via email for signature, along with supporting documentation.