The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) mission is to create strong, sustainable, and inclusive communities as well as quality affordable homes for all. One of the ways HUD works to accomplish this mission is through Rental Housing Assistance Programs (RHAPs) like Section 8 or the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
HUD chose Excelicon to support the Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system to provide oversight and monitoring, validate tenant reported income, identify improper payments, and identify tenants who no longer need assistance. Excelicon develops and administers training on the EIV system to HUD employees and federal partners. Excelicon develops documentation including pre and post questionnaires, updates to existing business requirements documents, maintains online guidance, and supports various reports for Congress and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Excelicon’s support at HUD helps to educate Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) across the United States on the proper use of EIV and its tools. This helps to reduce fraud, waste, and abuse across HUDs RHAPs.
HUD’s mission includes both enhancing rental assistance and reducing the length of homelessness. The improved use of EIV by PHAs directly address the urgent need of this mission. Prior to Excelicon’s work, no formal training existed so HUD employees and PHAs had to learn the system on their own with little institutional knowledge. In addition, employees only knew certain sectors of the software and were siloed to specific areas.
The lack of employee awareness, process documentation, and effective training on the entire EIV platform has hampered HUDs ability to provide much needed rental assistance and mitigation against homelessness. EIV training has reduced administrative burdens and removed the ambiguity of third-party income verifications. This directly improves the PHAs financial posture by ensuring limited HUD resources are helping the people who need it most and recovering improper payments from landlords and property owners.
In order to fully understand the agency’s challenges as well as learn HUD’s culture before making recommendations, Excelicon analyzed HUDs strategic plan, Public and Indian Housing Real Estate Assessment Center’s (PIH/REAC) published goals and plans for improvement, Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit findings, and conducted in-person interviews to fully understand the extent of HUDs deficiencies.
Gathering insights from employees allowed the Excelicon team to identify and develop the most effective trainings to help address PHAs inefficiencies. This led to a decrease in improper payments to deceased former tenants and current landlords participating of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Section 8 programs. The savings realized can be used to help more families looking for rental assistance. The Excelicon team used PMI principles to develop, administer, and gather feedback from the trainings in order to continually improve it.
EIV quarterly reports are used by the EIV team to identify PHAs who aren’t adhering to HUD RHAP policies and guidelines. Excelicon also improved the process by which EIV developed quarterly reports. This led to a reduction of manual processing to create these reports. The additional support time can be used to help PHAs with their issues administering HUDs RHAPs, enhancing the rental assistance programs and helping families get off the streets. Helping to identify the problem PHAs allows the EIV team at HUD to target their support to get the PHAs back in compliance. PHAs that are compliant have higher success rates assisting their RHAP participants and ultimately reduce the length of homelessness in their areas of the country.
Since Excelicon has begun working on this project, it has conducted six trainings for almost 400 people across five cities in the U.S. HUD employees are now trained across the entire EIV software and are able to administer HUD RHAPs more efficiently. PHAs are responsible for the distribution of funds for these programs. Fraud, waste, and abuse hinders the PHAs ability to help families who need it most. Better understanding of EIV through training has allowed the PHAs to reduce fraud, waste, and abuse, help more families, save taxpayer money, and support the overall HUD mission.
EIV has seen a significant increase in the use of the software and its Income Validation Tool (IVT). There has been a reduction in the number of EIV support requests from the PHAs and a renewed interest in learning more about EIV and other HUD tools. Enhanced reporting has reduced the need for manual processing by the EIV team down to 0%. The EIV team now has fully complete reports at the beginning of each quarter, leaving more time to support troubled PHAs and work towards the overall agency mission.