Recently we had the opportunity to interview Kim Obstfeld, Housing Specialist for the City of Dublin, a city of about 50,000 people. She uses HomeKeeper to help her manage their below market rate home ownership programs and rental programs.

Below are four ways that HomeKeeper has helped Kim to manage their City’s affordable housing program.

HomeKeeper simplifies everyday activities

HomeKeeper is “far and away the best system I have seen and most people in the land of affordable housing are still in a world of spreadsheets and access databases. Now I get a phone call and can look everything up in seconds while I am on the call instead of having to walk down the hall and pull paper out the filing cabinet and call them back” explained Kim Obstfeld.

Her team uses HomeKeeper’s events dashboard for their weekly housing meeting to discuss:

  • monitoring events
  • every request for refinance and consent to transfer
  • all occupancy certification information

Monitoring HomeKeeper’s events dashboard provides Kim a to-do list for follow ups and reminders of outstanding transactions. Before HomeKeeper this was all an extremely manual tracking process.

With HomeKeeper, they can quickly see:

  • how many active below market rate units they have in their program
  • household size
  • the affordability term
  • when things are starting to expire
  • units by bedroom count

Below market rate rental programs

Kim is one of key driving forces behind HomeKeeper’s Rental Monitoring Module. She manages about 1200 rental units at 11 properties. While having a smaller number of units than other members in the pilot group for the Rental Monitoring Module pilot group, her active participation helped shape the program and ensure it’s easy of use.

Annual monitoring of rental properties

They use HomeKeeper’s Rental Monitoring Module as a tool for  annual monitoring. They monitor  rental properties every year and in the past had a mish-mosh of reports and dozens of spreadsheets. Most everything was only in paper.

But now as the property managers submit reports, Kim and her team enter the data usually by uploading files, but in some cases manually entering the data. They update the tenant records and the unit records for all of the BMR rental properties. HomeKeeper then flags if there are any issues including:

  • If those households are over-income for the year
  • if the rent is over the maximum rent
  • if household sizes do not match parameters

This system provided a good tool for preparation for on-site visits as staff could quickly determine which files should be pulled for an audit and what issues to talk to the property managers about for clarification.

Records at our fingertips at on-site visits

“Last year for a couple of sites,  I was able to bring my iPad and pull up my HomeKeeper and have their file right there in front of me. I was able to actually enter updated tenant information or tenant details that weren’t provided on the report right into HomeKeeper on the spot; which was great,” explained Kim Obstfeld. From year to year, they can now track known variances like our properties have a different income threshold.

Note: Kim Obstfeld gave this interview in December 2016 and has since left the City of Dublin. Kim now works for the City of San Francisco.

Thank you very much for your time.