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How A State Government Helped Residents in Record Time during COVID

Rent and utility assistance was provided to help tens of thousands of people avoid eviction and keep their lights on.

A State Government needed to distribute hundreds of millions of dollars of emergency rental assistance within a tight timeline.Our Housing and Utility Assistance Solution on the Salesforce platform allowed the state to quickly consolidate and assess application information from tens of thousands of people in one secure place and track payments to eligible applicants. This ensured that those in need received help quickly and were able to stay in their homes where they were safest during the pandemic.

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The Imperative for Change

Covid-19 has had far reaching consequences. The changes during 2020 meant that thousands of Americans experienced financial hardship, faced eviction or risked their utilities being cut off. The Department of Housing and Urban Development created an Emergency Rental Assistance program, with $25 billion to help eligible households. One local government wanted to launch a new state-wide program to connect with eligible low and moderate-income renters. These people would be able to receive up to 15 months of assistance – however long it took to ensure stability in their living situation. But getting this money into the hands of residents quickly was a significant challenge.

The Transformative Solution

The State approached Publicis Sapient to design and implement a brand new application, which would help them distribute the hundreds of millions of dollars they were allocated. Within a tight two-week timeline, our team built a Housing and Utility Assistance Solution on the Salesforce platform.

Since Salesforce’s Cloud is highly configurable and scalable, we could deliver initial functionality quickly, with the confidence that it could then be scaled up to handle the high number of applicants plus a fast-expanding group of partners and internal users.

The solution allows the State to:

  • Receive applications online and via their 211 call center
  • Automatically route applications to 20 non-profit organizations around the State
  • Share information with utility companies to save time on matching applicant information
  • Share information to help determine eligibility for assistance
  • Send agreements electronically thanks to e-signature integration
  • Receive/approve electronically thanks to e-signature integration and award letter
  • Speed up processing times

The Business Impact

Our Housing and Utility Assistance Solution allowed the State government to respond to applicants faster and consolidate application information in one secure place for all parties to access. It also tracked money and payments, providing end-to-end enterprise reporting across the State.

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In the initial application period alone, more than 40,000 residents applied to the program. The demand for applications to be processed seven days a week also created an additional 130 jobs.

“The spread of coronavirus has affected every aspect of our lives. Many have lost jobs, had work hours cut back or had to care for someone. By creating this program to help with bills, we can keep people in their homes where they will be safest during this pandemic.”
State Governor
Jeremy Johnson
Jeremy Johnson
Senior Director, State & Local Industry