May 19th, 2021
During a recent webinar panel presented by Equifax Government Solutions and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), it became clear that data is one of the most effective tools to help Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) create better and more efficient processes to quickly address validating qualified applicants. The use of data for this purpose isn’t new. However, the availability of real-time, automated data for income verification is helping give the public housing industry much needed context and tools.
With unemployment high and public housing applications on the rise, the panel discussed how PHAs and property managers need new tools to process the additional information. This allows them to respond to new applications faster and more efficiently. Automated data for income verification helps reduce the burden on potential tenants. This data and how it can speed up the income-qualification process was one of the examples discussed by the PHAs on the panel.
“Solutions like The Work Number help us to [qualify clients] more efficiently...” said Danicka Ransom, Osceola County (FL) Human Services Assistant Director, “...and we are ensured that the data we are getting is correct and get it right away versus sometimes waiting on the clients which can be days, it can be weeks.”
Recent economic shifts have caused many businesses to be short-staffed or even close. As a result, the panelists discussed how PHAs are sometimes having a difficult time getting employment verification letters for public housing directly from the employer. The panelists described how their teams often experience increased need to connect with multiple employers.
Panelist Chrystal Dawson, Kinston (NC) Housing Authority Property Manager added “[Our] policy states that we have to have at least two documented attempts of trying to obtain employer verifications before we can allow a tenant to self-certify. It can take quite some time to reach these employers, or HR departments.”
PHAs, like Kinston and Osceola County, who use The Work Number service have digital access to more than 115 million employment and income records that are updated every pay period. The ability to tap into a digital solution for verifications of income and employment data helps reduce the amount of information applicants need to gather. Further, it can reduce the amount of work PHAs need to do to validate that information to determine tenant eligibility.