HousingWorks HousingWorks.Net:
The Future of Housing Search
The Future of Property Management Waitlist Software


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The HousingWorks TimeLine
1999 John LaBella and Ken Duncan, recipients of A.G .Scott Hershberger’s award for www.Infoweb.org, meet with more than a thousand stakeholders across MA to present a fully working pilot website that performs a comprehensive search for all low-income housing, generates pre-filled applications that can be sent electronically or by mail - and provides a centralized waitlist services for interested managers. The model includes all 44-plus kinds of low-income housing in New England because any less is just another silo. see the full list of housing at: http://www.infoweb.org/Marketing/44HousingTypes.GIF. Some Housing Advocates dub it the “Housing Search of the Future”, or “the first true Housing Ecosystem”. The HW search/apply module not only covers ALL possible low-income housing options; lets you apply electronically or on paper; it captured the date of one’s first application, and also the date applicants were either housed or rejected for housing. There are many ways such a resource can “go wrong” (issues of security, data sharing, providing benefits to one population at the expense of another population), HousingWorks demonstrated that there is only way it can ‘go right’ (a model built like a beneficent eco-system). The truly innovative aspects of this model, aside from its safety, was that all participants increased service delivery, boosted their ADA and Fair Housing compliance, saved money, and benefitted from first-ever reporting capabilities that compared housing supply with applicant demand, and can run by AMI category, by zip code, city, county, or region. It also captures longitudinal data crucial for planning. To learn more, visit www.housingworks.net, or google “The Future of Housing Search”.
2000 Although many housing advocates began using the model during its pilot phase, HousingWorks officially launches in 2000. The HWs team continues to solicit suggestions, including what sort of data might be useful to report out of the system from any and all stakeholders. The HousingWorks team expands to include MIT scientists and a security consultant for the US DoD. Immediate users include many state agencies, hospitals, AIDS Service organizations, DV agencies, as well as shelters and other social service organizations.
2001 Cambridge Cares About AIDS offers office space and support to HousingWorks, in support of the model. HWs add a free housing search feature, so that applicants lacking an advocate can enjoy equal access to the resources. HousingWorks finally secures a series of meetings with NAHRO, and then DHCD technical and policy staff to explain and demo the model in detail, and to propose the state license - and help further develop - the product. The response: “There is no need for this, but we are going to build one like it in-house.”
2002 HousingWorks provides testimony to Speaker Finneran’s Task Force on Health and Human Services. Our testimony ends up in the Task Force report, published April 2003 which states: “Unified Housing Application System – The Task Force recommends the implementation of a statewide affordable housing database, which utilizes the internet to allow EOHHS, EOEA and DVS agencies to more efficiently monitor housing availability for their customers.” Note that the recommendation is NOT for a statewide database of public housing, but for all affordable housing.
2003 HousingWorks begins marketing its centralized waitlist services to property management companies and Housing Authorities, all of whom struggle with long waitlists. As of 2019, over 100 offices now use this system. and many for-profit management offices purchase the waitlist software. And just under 70,000 unduplicated, totaling almost 200,000 people, actively reside on the centralized waitlist module.
2008 HWs waitlist proves so efficient that waitlists at over 100 Offices can be easily maintained by only 4 staff.
2017 At a meeting hosted by Mass Coalition for the Homeless, HousingWorks pioneers first-ever reports comparing supply of units with demand for units, with an unduplicated count of just under 60,000 households sitting on waitlists in just the Boston area.
2019 Currently in the HousingWorks.net system: Every piece of subsidized and affordable housing in New England, with information on the status of every waitlist.