ONPHA 2022

By on Dec 2, 2022 in Events

Yardi Canada recently contributed in multiple ways to the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association’s annual conference and trade show this month. The three-day event in Toronto attracted 500 in-person and 500 online attendees and offered sessions dedicated to exploring emerging trends in housing innovation, funding opportunities and technology.

Along with hosting a booth and serving as a sponsor of the conference, Yardi team members moderated a pair of panels. One session, with Wayne Tuck, Yardi senior director of residential housing for Yardi Canada, focused on the implications of funding affordable housing stock with social impact capital, also known as “patient” capital, that favours impactful social infrastructure over the traditional demand for immediate market returns.

Panel focuses on strategies

A second session, moderated by Yardi Canada’s Meherzad Bakht, focused on the challenges of using technology as a means of satisfying the next generation of social housing management.

Panelists Clinton Reid, manager of quality assurance and compliance for Toronto social service agency WoodGreen Community Services, and Thomas DiCarlo, CFO for housing and health service provider Services and Housing In the Province (SHIP), examined how holistic technology strategies can help community housing providers reduce communication barriers, increase tenant satisfaction and maintain data integrity.

Here are some of the key takeaways from their session:

Crisis triggered tech adoption

For SHIP, and many other organizations, the pandemic and the shift to remote work accelerated the implementation of new software solutions. “We worked in a paper environment with manual processes, making information not readily available or reliable. This added to the time and effort staff dedicated to reporting,” DiCarlo said. That pain point prompted SHIP to implement solutions for procurement management and payment processing, to help reduce redundant and error-prone processes. This step also improved SHIP’s ability to effectively complete financial reporting to funders, board members and management.

The pandemic spurred a similar technology evolution at WoodGreen. “The biggest win of deploying a secure payment processing solution was easily obtaining detailed reports on non-sufficient funds that showed why a payment was rejected. This helps us determine the next steps in real time,” Reid said.

Better data drives efficiency and decisions

When asked about the automated tech that has been the most useful to their organizations, DiCarlo cited energy management software suites that reduce utility costs and rent collection solutions that track payments. Reid pointed to property maintenance and inspection applications that promote resident satisfaction, dynamic online learning management platforms and portals that seamlessly connect property managers with residents. These and other applications comprise a holistic strategy that provides one source of the truth when housed within a single connected technology platform.

Keeping the momentum

In conclusion, interconnection is the key to a successful tech strategy. Thomas said, “Having the right technology in place will provide better data and more real-time information to help decision-making. Get buy-in from your team by showing how it will bring value through cost and time savings, make everybody’s job easier and get more work done more efficiently.”

Reid concurred, adding, “Show your team the immediate impact new solutions can have on key issues” such as maintenance requests, reporting, compliance, budgeting, deadlines and more.

Thomas, Reid and other speakers at ONPHA 2022 reinforced the importance of reimagining Canada’s housing system in partnership with other providers and without relying on government funding.

Learn about the benefits available from advanced social housing technology.