Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD)

“Every year, it is critical that we efficiently spend all funds allocated to us. If CapHub wasn’t in place when we transitioned to remote work in 2020, we would have lost the ability to spend much of our budget. That would have been a travesty for the upkeep of public housing buildings and the residents we serve.”

– Stacey Reiling, Manager for Capital Data and Systems for the Bureau of Housing Development and Construction

Overview

The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development’s Bureau of Housing Development and Construction (BHDC) oversees and distributes over $110 million in annual financing to 232 local housing authorities for redevelopment and capital rehabilitation projects that contribute to the DHCD’s aim of assisting residents in living comfortably and safely. The BHDC began the process of upgrading its capital project procedure in 2016. This decision was prompted by a change in how funding was distributed, which caused the number of active projects to increase from a few dozen every year to over 1,200. The traditional mechanisms for seeing tasks through from conception to completion proved incredibly time-consuming. In-house staff, project managers, external design consultants, and in-house architects depended on traditional mail, phone, fax, and email to handle the complex process of authorizing projects. Owing to a lack of visibility for stakeholders, the teams frequently experienced delays due to misplaced mail and process-based obstacles. Click here to read the full client story shared via Microsoft!

Industry

Government

Established

2009

Company Size

9 Locations

Technology

Cloud, Data & Analytics

Streamlining with Azure.
  • The Bureau of Housing Development & Construction was in need of a cloud-based solution that would streamline the bureau’s complex procedures and serve as a flexible and interactive communications center, as well as a historical record for transparency. As such, Tallan was tapped to help develop an application in Microsoft Azure. Since its inception in 2018, BHDC and Tallan have been gradually developing features and modules to support new commercial activities linked to capital building.
  • CapHub is now used throughout the BHDC and its vast network of partners and providers. CapHub allows the BHDC team to collaborate using dashboards with role-specific access, providing insight into project progress, ownership of activities, and built-in workflows. This greatly helped to reduce the reliance on manual correspondence.
  • “CapHub is a highly interactive system that houses the entire lifecycle of our projects,” said Fatima Razzaq, Director of the Bureau of Housing Development and Construction. “We can now take a project from conception through the end of construction and manage all the phase approvals along the way. It all moves so much cleaner and faster.”
Modernizing Workflows for Clarity.
  • The BHDC’s need for continued flexibility to efficiently respond to state mandates and financing changes was a significant factor in their decision to choose Azure. For example, in 2022, the Massachusetts American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds were allocated through legislation, with $150 million going to Massachusetts public housing. To disperse the money, BHDC had to immediately construct all new programs and projects. Stacey Reiling estimated that the BHDC will now be able to absorb this in a matter of months and scale up projects by 30% without adding employees.
  • The BHDC has also gained a new level of transparency thanks to CapHub. Their staff is regularly inundated with legislative inquiries – whether it be a constituency inquiring about the state of a project in a specific housing authority or a senator inquiring about the status of a project in a specific housing authority. They can now easily provide all the pertinent details because the information is right at their fingertips. “Before CapHub, we couldn’t answer questions right away. It required digging and research that took a lot of time, and that was a fumble for us,” said Razzaq. “Now, when we get an inquiry, we can provide all the details because the information is right at our fingertips. This helps us provide greater and more efficient transparency.”
The Flexibility to Pivot.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the BHDC, like most government agencies, had to adapt to operating remotely without missing a beat. The BHDC and its external team of contractors and vendors were able to maintain daily functions instead of scrambling to develop new ways of working. CapHub is built on Azure and allows everyone involved on a capital project to work collaboratively within the system. Role-specific access to dashboards provides visibility to project progress, ownership of actions, and built-in workflows, eliminating the need for manual communications.
  • BHDC and Tallan are now continuously exploring new ways to leverage Azure’s capabilities and CapHub’s data-rich past. The Bureau is exploring methods for using Power BI to report and visualize data internally, to share that vital information with people throughout the Commonwealth, and empower LHAs with access to performance dashboards. Together, these projects are changing how BHDC provides services and highlighting the DHCD’s goal by presenting everything it has accomplished with funding.
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