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Habitat for Humanity Twin Cities: Our Experience Adopting HomeKeeper

We spoke to Alice Melton, a Financial Empowerment Coach from Habitat Twin Cities about her HomeKeeper experience. Alice has led the process to get her team up and running with HomeKeeper.

We talked to Habitat Twin Cities when they were a month or two out from their data migration. One of the most important factors in their HomeKeeper implementation is that they had an experienced Salesforce System Administrator, named Scott, who actually was on staff one day a week during their initial implementation of Homekeeper. They’re now up and running, and in the process of doing more day-to-day work in HomeKeeper.

How did your data migration go?

Our data migration was fairly easy, since we’d already migrated from our Access database into Salesforce once. This was really converting our pre-existing data structure to HomeKeeper’s objects. We finished up 1-2 months ago.

What processes are you tracking in HomeKeeper?

Right now, most of my work and my entire team’s work is happening in Salesforce. We’ve got several types of Service Files that track increasing amounts of information. We have an extensive waitlist, and because of so much demand, we’ve actually automated an online form that updates families’ information in Salesforce.

online form habitat tc

We use a Workshops object to track both our waitlist and real workshops, and it lets us easily get a quick idea of who’s on the waitlist, what their order is, and who has submitted a completed application.

workshop habitat tc homekeeper

We’re also tracking our pre-purchase financial coaching using HomeKeeper’s education and counseling object, which lets us track the results of that coaching as well.

education habitat tc

Once a family gets into an application pool, we also track the Property Selection process in HomeKeeper, and the letters we send out to families to express interest in particular properties.

What processes have yet to be tracked in HomeKeeper and Salesforce?

Right now we’re working with the team at Laser Credit so that we can start pulling credit reports using Salesforce, where they’ll show up right on the Service File. I’d definitely recommend starting that process early if you’re eager to implement Laser Credit, because the process can take a really long time.

I think that our lending and finance teams may start to use HomeKeeper more in the future. We’re not sure if it’s a priority for the Neighborhood Revitalization team, though we’d be interested in knowing how other affiliates are using HomeKeeper to track Neighborhood Revitalization.Though our homeownership program is our flagship program, we have a large Neighborhood Revitalization program.

One of our newer initiatives is to offer Habitat loans to buyers on the open market, in order to expand our geographic reach, we’re not sure whether we’ll track the application process for that program in HomeKeeper, or let our mortgage servicer take the lead on this.

Do you have any resale restrictions on your properties? What type?

Yes, all of Habitat for Humanity of the Twin Cities properties have a 30-year deed restriction that gives us the right of first refusal to purchase the property back. Usually our Land Acquisition team evaluates whether the numbers work for us to purchase the property back, and that’s what drives our decision.  We’ve started entering our property buybacks into HomeKeeper and are looking for ways to get a higher response rate for our Exit Survey.

What’s your favorite part about HomeKeeper?

It’s given us ideas for the types of data we could be tracking, which allows us to tell more complex stories about our programs and our impact.

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