2013 has not been particularly generous to housing authorities and other federally funded agencies. Budgets have been cut, projects put on hold and programs scaled down. Looking to the future, it is important to ask and understand how well authorities were prepared, whether they had the tools and organizational culture in place to quickly adapt and what could have been done better. Change is rarely forgiving.
The current climate has led authorities to creatively bridge their funding gaps. From seeking external grants to establishing new business lines like Huntsville Housing Authority’s proposal to create a business out of its inspectors, some authorities are not only responding but also creating a foundation for future financial stability.
Business change such as finding and adapting to new funding sources can be costly, frustrating and difficult to implement. For example, how will such changes affect payroll, budgeting, reporting or compliance? What internal and administrative changes are required to embrace these changes? Are the organization’s Financial Management and Human Resource systems able to quickly adapt?
For the King County Housing Authority (KCHA), a recognized leader and innovator in public housing, the answer to the above is yes. When KCHA sold over 500 housing units to a non-profit partner, with KCHA continuing to manage the properties, the authority faced significant challenges with new reporting requirements; creating the new reports would have cost thousands. However, with its agile financial system, KCHA was able to quickly and easily adapt its requirements and act on the sale, which in turn increased revenue and allowed it to provide more services.
Is your housing authority’s financial management software capable of quickly and easily adapt to business changes?
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