Renfrew County Housing Corporation (RCHC) coordinates social housing and supportive services in the largest county (by land mass) in Ontario, Canada. RCHC manages nearly 1,000 units across the region, including apartment properties and single family homes, as well as funding assistance to rehabilitate homes owned or occupied by households with low income.
Overcoming Efficiency Obstacles
RCHC has faced many challenges as a Canadian social housing provider serving a geographically dispersed area. Population centres in Renfrew County are widely dispersed, meaning it can take three hours to get from one property to another. With a housing portfolio that spans a large area, RCHC staff spends a significant amount of time on the road conducting inspections and doing maintenance repair work.
Yardi Advanced Maintenance
Yardi Advanced Maintenance offers scheduling, tracking, and management of maintenance for any type of property. Social housing providers can use connected maintenance solutions to quickly match technicians with tasks and use location-tracking features for rapid response to emergency requests. Property managers can also track consumable items by linking maintenance tasks with Yardi Inventory Control and Yardi Voyager Social Housing. Yardi Advanced Maintenance is a mobile solution, giving social housing providers easy access to manage maintenance tasks on tablet and smartphone devices.
Maximizing Efficiency with Technology
RCHC began using Yardi Voyager in 2003, finding RCHC found Voyager to be a feature-rich platform with many workflows that could streamline its organization. “Voyager is a sophisticated software with a lot of details that add value to our operations,” said Carol Neill, general manager of RCHC.
One of the features RCHC did not initially use fully was Yardi Advanced Maintenance for unit inspections and work orders. That changed in 2013 as RCHC began to focus on getting more from its technology investment.
Yardi Advanced Maintenance allows RCHC to oversee maintenance, inspection records consumable items’ inventory levels and more, with all activity synced to the Yardi Voyager database. “There is no longer any communication delay between the office and field staff. All maintenance department staff have the mobile application for work orders on their phone, which reduces a lot of costs,” said Neill.
RCHC supports nearly 1,000 units with just 15 field staff. Communication is key to making sure work gets done and tenants stay safe. “Our high-emergency work orders show up in red. When staff see those red notices, they immediately go into action with very little lead time prior to repairs. It’s also much easier now to assure tenants about when they can expect the repairs to be completed,” said Neill.
Neill explains that RCHC used to track maintenance records in Voyager, but also still created work orders on paper. “We’ve since transformed those paper forms into electronic records on the Yardi mobile app. We’ve also improved annual and routine health and safety inspections by connecting site supervisors, operations coordinators and inspectors in real time through mobile devices and desktop workflows,” said Neill.
RCHC’s focus on technology benefits staff, tenants, and Neill personally, as she develops her management skills. “As a manager, being able to access information at any time makes you a strong and knowledgeable leader. Yardi software lets me see how my team is performing at any time. With quick access to the status of maintenance staff, I can more confidently make staffing decisions. And staffing decisions ultimately improves the quality of life for our tenants,” said Neill.