Client Spotlight

By on Apr 4, 2019 in People

Michelle Bless, Churchill Residential

Michelle Bless

Based in the heart of Texas, Yardi client Churchill Residential is an affordable housing provider with a focus on senior housing that works to provide exceptional customer service for its residents. We recently caught up with Michelle Bless, director of accounting, to learn how the company has benefited from its use of the Yardi affordable platform and how the Walk In Payment System (WIPS) is truly a game-changer for affordable housing providers.

Michelle, tell us about Churchill Residential?

We were founded in 2002, and pride ourselves on developing and operating high-quality, 100% affordable housing communities, most of which are for seniors. We’ve leveraged Low Income Housing Tax Credit funds to build 17 communities and more than 2,700 units across the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area.

What does Churchill do best?

Customer service is at the forefront of Churchill’s mission. Our guiding principles focus on enhancing the lives of residents, onsite staff and office employees. When we see an opportunity to make a change towards improving service, we take it.

What changes have you gone through recently?

We’ve achieved improvements in staff efficiency and resident services by implementing the Yardi integrated software platform. That change has helped us improve performance by simplifying many processes and improving data transparency across our organization.

How does having an integrated accounting software translate to happier residents?

Time savings for our onsite staff definitely benefits our residents, as the staff now has more time for personal interactions every day. As far as resident-facing technology goes, electronic payment processing is a nice perk for our residents because they can log in at any time to check their up-to-date ledger. We couldn’t offer residents that type of real time information prior to adopting the Yardi integrated software platform.

Churchill just went live with WIPS. What’s been the best part of that so far?

Yardi’s Walk-In Payment System (WIPS) allows residents to make payments for rent and other charges at retail locations in their neighborhood. They can use any form of payment at those locations, and payments post automatically to their ledger in our Yardi database. It helps us out because or property managers no longer have to accept payments in cash or money orders.

Money orders can be tricky. Are you glad to be done with them?

Money orders not only have a potential for fraud, but also tend to slow down accounting processes because they don’t scan very well. When a scan fails, our staff has to make a trip to the bank for manual deposit. WIPS solves those issues and eliminates a lot of work for our onsite managers.

What else has improved with the Yardi integrated platform?

Accounts payable. With Yardi PAYscan, we receive scanned images of payable invoices delivered to Yardi Voyager for review, approval and payment. As an integrated part of the Yardi platform, PAYscan expedites AP because staff no longer has to log in to a separate system. That alone saves as much as two hours per week.

Your Yardi platform is cloud based. How does that help Churchill?

Having an integrated environment hosted by Yardi Cloud Services is a big plus for us. A portion of our past software was cloud-based, but unfortunately, the accounting data was not, which meant separate logins and waiting for data to transfer. Also, the browser-based interface has drastically reduced calls to our IT staff for assistance.

What are your future plans for technology?

Yardi has a lot more to offer than our previous software systems, and the platform is always growing and evolving with new solutions. We’re looking forward to implementing online affordable housing applications through RENTCafé Affordable Housing. I’m sure that will be a big change for our compliance team since they’ll be able to replace paper affordable housing applications with online submissions.


Does your affordable housing software offer true integrated solutions across departments and staff roles? Log on to to learn more about the single platform affordable housing solution from Yardi.