Upgrade for Growth

The Cause

Horizon Housing Society is always trying to increase capacity and provide the highest quality affordable homes to vulnerable Calgarians.

As we continue to grow to meet Calgary’s need for high quality, well managed affordable housing, a more sophisticated software system is needed so that we can manage our portfolio more efficiently and work and communicate with our tenants and community partners as effectively as possible. Current technology is slow and limited in its data collection and analysis capabilities. New software will allow Horizon Housing to be a more collaborative, effective contributor to the housing sector and, because it also encourages more efficient use of resources, will also support the organization’s mandate of providing affordable, quality homes to people in need.

Yardi was recommended to Horizon Housing and other housing providers by the Provincial Government as a property management software used by several leading housing providers. The system encourages reporting and service consistency throughout Alberta’s affordable housing sector and provides opportunity for more collaborative reporting and research across housing providers. This will strengthen the sector as a whole.

Yardi offers property management capabilities and also supports customer relationship management. Its features facilitate online communications and administration with tenants, a key need identified in Horizon Housing’s 2014 Tenant Satisfaction Survey and something current technology is not capable of. Although, Yardi’s subscriptions fees are priced higher than Horizon Housing’s current fees, the capabilities of this system will ultimately save in administrative costs and is a required technology investment to support organizational growth and other strategic objectives.

Now is the right time to undertake this project. According to Horizon Housing’s most recent tenant satisfaction survey, 67% of tenants use the internet regularly and would benefit from the online features the new software provides.

Who Will it Benefit?

This project will not only benefit Horizon Housing Society, but also the organization’s tenants, referring partners, and Government Partners.

Horizon Housing Society: will achieve greater efficiencies by providing more adequate and timely reporting, enhanced compliance with various accounting and tenancy regulations and minimizing administrative and financial related costs.

Horizon Housing Tenants: The new system will support more efficient use of staff time which will help Horizon Housing utilize its limited resources most effectively. Effective use of resources means Horizon Housing can continue to maintain affordable rents while still providing high quality homes for people in need. The new system also features online capabilities which will provide tenants with an additional platform to submit and track formal maintenance requests and check their current rent balances. This system enhances two-way communications between Horizon Housing’s customers and service staff with the goal of positively affecting tenant satisfaction scores related to communications and service.

Referring Partners (includes Mustard Seed, Inn from the Cold, Canadian Mental Health and others): The software will vastly improve the collaboration process with Horizon Housing’s referring agencies by providing enhanced, real-time information on their clients. This information will help Horizon Housing’s referring agencies provide more relevant and timely support to tenants which should ultimately result in a greater level of long-term success.

Government: The new system will improve reporting processes to the Government and will support Horizon Housing’s efforts to provide more relevant, timely data on affordable housing statistics to all levels of government. Overall, the software will support the transition of data from raw numbers too useful, actionable information. This will support advocacy efforts to demonstrate the need for and success of housing first programs in Calgary.