Does Your Housing Authority Still Have Too Many Paper Files?

Today, many Public Housing Authorities are struggling to operate remotely or efficiently, as many of their documents and files are still paper-based.  Given the current COVID-19 health crisis, this puts staff at risk when they have to go into the office to pick up or access their paper files.  Also, staff report that finding, managing, sharing, and protecting documents stored in email, shared network drives, and paper systems can be a challenge.

As one Public Housing Authority executive, I spoke to recently said,

“I’m tired of talking about it, it’s time to go paperless”

What is a Paperless System?  Paperless Systems also referred to electronic content management (ECM) provides for scanning (of paper), recognition (to help index paper), drag and drop (to allow users to move emails and electronic documents (e.g., PDF, word, spreadsheet) in shared network drives over to the ECM),  content storage (where documents are stored, searched, and controlled), workflow (allowing for routing and tracking of documents being worked on), and retention/ disposition (protecting documents from deletion before required).

How to Plan for a Paperless System?  Before a Public Housing Authority selects a paperless system vendor, planning work is mandatory to help ensure a successful system. As paperless technology systems are complex, it will be helpful if an organization finds a consultant to assist who is independent of software vendors, specializes in paperless (ECM) technology planning, has experience helping Public Housing Authorities, and understands PHA processes including Admissions, Asset Management, Development, Executive, Finance, Human Resources, IPS, Office Operations, Procurement, Property Management,  Risk Management, and Safety

Based on our work assisting Public Housing Authorities with paperless technology (ECM) planning, I recommend that the planning work should include the following six steps. Development of a/an:

  • enterprise-wide plan and roadmap, including a cost/benefit analysis,
  • system requirements document, based upon organizational, user, customer, process, records, and technical requirements,
  • plan for workflow mapping and improvement, to allow for cleanup and improvement of  processes before implementation,
  • request for proposal (RFP), to allow for the selection of the proper software company and integrator (the company that will configure/set up the system),
  • vendor review process, to properly evaluate vendor RFP responses and demonstrations, and
  • approach to update records management document retention/ disposition schedules, policies, and procedures.

For additional information regarding how your Public Housing Authority can plan for paperless technologies and how we at CRE8 Independent Consultant can help  Contact us >

About the Author. George Dunn, President of CRE8 Independent Consultants, is a worldwide Paperless Technology (ECM) and Process/Workflow Improvement consultant, speaker, and author.  He has assisted hundreds of government organizations/ departments, including many Public Housing Authorities.  George can be reached as follows > 

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