For the last seventy years, Everett Housing Authority (EHA) has served the city of Everett, Washington, and the surrounding area. EHA currently provides Section 8 rental assistance to more than 2,500 families and individuals throughout Snohomish County. EHA also manages and develops affordable housing properties funded with a variety of subsidies including HOME, Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Rural Development, and more.
As a growing PHA with complex operating responsibilities, EHA relies on technology to streamline its staff processes and provide the business insight necessary for success.
Consolidating PHA Software
EHA needed to replace legacy software with a cloud-based solution that could consolidate operations, finance, and compliance onto a mobile platform without adding redundant software or contracting with multiple vendors. It desired a platform that would encompass all of their businesswide processes, including back office accounting, housing management, construction management, staff training, and customer-facing tools for prospect and resident interaction.
Yardi PHA Suite
The Yardi PHA Suite is the industry’s only single-stack, web-based platform for Public Housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, and affordable housing. EHA’s platform includes Voyager PHA as the property management and accounting foundation, plus online staff training through Yardi eLearning, construction budgeting and project oversight with Yardi Construction Management, and online service portals for subsidized housing applicants and residents through RENTCafé PHA.
A Single Stack Approach
EHA takes advantage of the integrated product modules from the Yardi PHA Suite – a cost-effective strategy to getting the highest return on software investment.
“We use products from the Yardi PHA suite for nearly every facet of our organization. Beginning with the core accounting platform, we’ve built an environment that covers everything from housing management, construction management, staff training, and online web access for stakeholders,” said Ashley Lommers-Johnson, executive director.
Voyager PHA gives EHA online access to information through drilldown capabilities available on all reports. “When we see a variance that isn’t making sense, we can click right into the report and see what’s happening at the property, all the way down the transaction level,” said Lommers-Johnson.
Voyager PHA has also made audits easier for EHA. Because EHA can provide auditors with temporary access to Voyager PHA, they avoid the tedious process of pulling paper files for inspection. “Instead of searching through files for backup documentation, auditors can go right into Voyager PHA and view invoices attached to transactions and journal entries,” said Lommers-Johnson.
Mobile, Cloud-Based PHA Technology
EHA upgraded to the latest version of Voyager PHA (7S) in 2016 to take advantage of Yardi’s hosting services and reduce its responsibilities to provide IT oversight. One of the main benefits of Voyager 7S is that authorized staff members have 24/7 browser-based access to Voyager 7S, even when away from the office. Access is available with mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, and notebook computers.
“With Voyager 7S, staff can access critical data with a push of a button, whenever and wherever they need it. Our operations department used to wait months for access to certain budget information. Voyager 7S makes that data always available, even from a mobile device out of the office,” said Lommers-Johnson.
EHA’s portfolio of housing units has grown by 70% in recent years. Multiple types of federal, state, and local subsidies facilitated EHA’s acquisition of those properties. With those subsidies come complex compliance requirements and new layers of property management oversight. “We manage all of this development, maintain the units, and serve residents much more efficiently because of how well the Yardi PHA suite supports our entire business lifecycle,” said Lommers-Johnson.