Affordable Housing Tech

By on Jul 27, 2022 in Technology

Editor’s note: The following interview was originally published on The Breezeway, the official blog of Yardi Breeze.

Chris Voss is currently a vice president at Yardi, but he’s been working in affordable housing for over 20 years. In that time, he’s worked on the investor side of the business, putting together tax credit deals to help developers get their properties built. He later shifted gears and spent a number of years working directly with operators. He’s experienced in helping property management companies optimize and modernize with the help of affordable housing and compliance software. Chris is the perfect person to discuss the future of affordable housing. Keep reading to see how he’s helping Yardi revolutionize affordable housing and simplify compliance.

What’s the goal of Breeze Premier?
We’re looking to bring everyone on our legacy systems over to Yardi Breeze Premier. This will help us better support our clients with newer software and get upgrades out faster. It also provides a portal for applicants and residents to apply online, make payments and enter work orders.

Are there any features that tend to convince people to switch or migrate?
One of the bigger points of interest for our residential clients is the ability to launch branded corporate and property websites with RentCafe. This is our marketing and leasing solution built into Breeze and Breeze Premier to support online leasing. It also includes options for integrated screening and renters insurance.

Historically, rent collection and work order management have been done manually, so to have an integrated system is really compelling. The most-used feature of RentCafe is probably the resident portal, which automates rent collection and centralizes online maintenance requests. And residents love the RentCafe Resident app.

Looking back, what made the previous generations of Yardi software relevant in their time?
Years ago, Yardi Genesis and Yardi Genesis2 were some of the most powerful property management systems around. This was especially true for small to mid-sized companies. They didn’t need everything a system like Yardi Voyager had to offer. However, a lot of that functionality was built in to help clients with activities in the back office such as bookkeeping, financial reporting and resident tracking. The reality is that a lot of employees at smaller affordable companies wear multiple hats. They do more than back-office activities. That’s where Breeze Premier come in.

What’s making Breeze Premier relevant in our time?
In addition to accounting, operations and reporting, our latest property management software includes built-in marketing and leasing tools plus a host of optional add-on solutions to do even more.

We’ve implemented text messaging to better communicate with residents and introduced a CRM queue to track customer communications and initiate follow-ups. We leverage artificial intelligence to communicate with potential residents using our RentCafe Chat IQ chatbot. We provide the option for clients to outsource their utility billing and utility invoice processing, among other features. Not to mention, we just rolled out maintenance call center services to Breeze Premier clients with RentCafe Connect.

If you were to reimagine affordable housing, what might it look like?
Reimagining the future of affordable housing is really about finding ways to reduce the costs and complexities of operations. It starts by reducing the friction that is involved with finding and applying for an affordable home today. is an internet listing service available for our residential clients. Even a person who wants to move to a different state can now easily apply online. They can also complete the entire certification process without ever having to walk into that out-of-state property.

We’re also trying to eliminate fair housing complaints from even arising. With RentCafe Affordable Housing, the certification and application process are done online, so the manager never has influence over the application process. So even if that household ends up being denied, they can’t point back and say the property manager was discriminating against them.

Put it this way: In every respect, the future of affordable housing has arrived! When it comes time to sign paperwork, neither party needs to come into the office. Where permissible, they can do everything on their computer, tablet or smartphone with esignatures. This changes the way that we handle applications, and it leads to a lot less friction and wasted time. It also improves the experience for everyone overall.

Read the full interview on The Breezeway.