Apartment Association of Greater Dallas Leads the Way in HCV Reform
In the conversation concerning owner participation in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, misunderstanding is the status quo.
Tenants’ rights activists insist that owners and operators are discriminating against voucher holders by not accepting their applications. Owners respond that the problem isn’t with the applicant, it’s with the bureaucracy that follows them. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It quickly becomes understandable then why so many throw their hands up in despair.
But not Ian Mattingly. His work, along with the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas and with the Dallas Housing Authority (DHA), has bloomed into a brand-new tool that is proving to have a tangible impact on this arduous process. And it’s going to help a lot of people at both ends of the HCV program.
The app, InspectionMate, now serves as DHA’s virtual customer service agent, scheduling appointments, sending reminders, alerts and other communications to property owners and managers regarding their DHA housing inspection. Owners and residents can text the InspectionMate assistant to reschedule their appointment, ask questions and receive answers in real-time. The InspectionMate app, available from the Apple App Store and Google Play, also provides conversational channels to communicate with DHA in real-time.
By using virtual assistant tools, as well as others, they have transformed a process that used to take weeks into one that now has a 24-hour turnaround.
InspectionMate optimizes and schedules work assignments for the DHA inspections team, allows for real-time chat communications with the owner/operator about the inspection and allows for ad hoc scheduling changes. Property management teams receive a clear schedule and anticipated arrival time for their inspection appointments.
In addition to completing inspections faster, DHA expects to realize a gain between 30 percent and 40 percent in fuel savings as a result of the AI tool’s ability to more efficiently map inspectors’ schedules and routes.
Advances like these are hard to build headlines on, but they are making real progress in bringing the HCV program, and the thousands that it serves, closer to the housing that they need while also helping owners to join and participate in the program.