Traditionally, application processing is a core pain point for local, state and federal housing authorities. A telling example of the many problems housing authorities still face today is with the Housing Authority of Champaign-Urbana in Illinois. When they received 6,000 applications with only 1,798 vouchers available, reviewing eligibility, screening the applications and waitlisting applicants was overwhelming with limited staff. Their problem was not an isolated incident either. Many other housing authority application systems are conducted through phone calls or paper applications. These authorities find themselves overwhelmed with calls, office walk-ins and several misfiles when they need to make updates or conduct hand-offs to different departments.

Each year, individuals seeking to rent out their houses, apartments or other dwellings must painstakingly complete and submit massive document packets that often exceed thirty pages. While reviewing these documents is necessary to ensure that these individuals comply with housing authority regulations, performing manual application processing creates organizational gridlock.

The demands for housing are shifting in new, unpredictable ways due to:

  • COVID-19 lockdowns
  • The burgeoning requirement for effective options to work from home
  • Budgetary constraints
  • Dramatically reduced housing inventories

As the government has sought to address these challenges, housing authority personnel have remained bogged down with seemingly endless piles of paper documents, inhibiting their ability to perform more dynamic tasks. To compound issues, housing authorities cannot efficiently process these applications, which diminishes the experience of individuals who rely upon these public services.

Public housing authority entities are an essential service for the public sector, serving over 2 million individuals and families each year. To alleviate these barriers to efficiency, these organizations must seriously consider automating application processes for housing authorities. This automation can be accomplished via the deployment of intelligent document processing solutions.

How Can Housing Authorities Implement Application Processing Automation?

In the past, manual application processing was the only pragmatic approach to analyzing vital housing authority documents. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have been incorporated into a leading-edge technology known as intelligent document processing (IDP) software. These tools have led to innovative new solutions that can streamline and automate otherwise tedious tasks.

What Is IDP Software?

IDP software leverages AI and ML technologies’ power to convert unstructured and semi-structured data into usable information. In addition, IDP technology transforms documents by capturing, classifying and extracting data. From there, IDP solutions serve as a delivery system that can route newly structured information to your ERP, RPA, ECM, iPaaS or analytics platforms.

What are the Benefits of Automating Housing Authority Applications?

Due to the global pandemic outbreak, housing authorities across the nation were already inundated with applications from residents and property owners. Many of them processed the applications manually. As housing authority personnel were forced out of their offices for extended periods of time, these issues were exacerbated, which put these organizations even further behind.

By strategically deploying an IDP solution, housing authorities can overcome these challenges. Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Increased Efficiency

Increasing efficiency is essential if housing authorities hope to dislodge the pandemic-induced (and pre-pandemic) application bottlenecks they are currently facing. As the future of workplaces and workflows remains uncertain, adding automation frameworks through IDP solutions can ensure that housing authority employees gain access to documents and data more rapidly than ever before. 

By increasing document accessibility and reducing the need for manual document processing tasks, IDP solutions can significantly boost efficiency and “future-proof” the application process. This digital approach means that each team member will boost their productivity while simultaneously improving processing accuracy. 

  • Time Saved

IDP solutions allow housing authorities to spend far less time on redundant tasks. Automating processes and tasks will free employees to focus on more value-added responsibilities to further the housing authorities’ missions of connecting underserved communities with affordable housing.

Modern IDP technologies save time on the front end of document processing and streamline back-office activities. For instance, intelligent document processing tools increase the accuracy of data extraction, which translates into fewer data entry or processing errors. As a result, back-office personnel will receive fewer customer complaints and can spend less time correcting erroneous applications.

  • Reduced Administrative Costs

Cumulatively, increased efficiency, decreased data entry errors, and enhanced productivity will lower administrative costs for housing authorities. This cost reduction would mean that a larger percentage of funds can be allocated towards front-facing initiatives that benefit those in need.

  • A Streamlined Application Approval Process

Lastly, IDP and automation technologies streamline the application approval process. This streamlining means that individuals in need of affordable housing can access these vital services more efficiently.

Finding housing can be a stressful process. Everyone wins when local, state and federal housing authorities automate application processing. What matters most is the ability to remove obstacles and delays for those who need a place to call home. For this reason, it is crucial that housing authorities pivot towards automating the application process because:

  • Applicants can have a home faster.
  • Applicants can feel less stress about whether or not their application will be rejected based on a clerical error.
  • Housing authority staff can feel ready for large volumes of applications without the fear of burnout.

Industry Leading Solutions from Ephesoft

During the pandemic, the transition away from centralized offices made it difficult for housing authority personnel to provide access to the data they needed for their downstream processes. Fortunately, automating application processes for housing authorities offers significant benefits to the applicants, staff members and the organization itself. However, choosing the right software and vendor partner is integral to the success of any organizational automation initiative.

For those involved in housing authority application processing at the local, state, or federal level, you need a partner like Ephesoft. Our business process, automation, and IDP solutions can address common pain points faced by public housing authorities across all levels of government.

Schedule a live demo or a free trial to learn more about how our leading IDP solution technologies can take document automation from complex to simple. Ephesoft is available on Project Hosts’ federal private cloud FedRAMP-Authorized platform

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