As part of Public & Collaborative: Designing Services for Housing—our collaboration with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Parsons DESIS Lab—our team developed four pilot proposals to enhance the application process for affordable housing. HPD accepted all four proposals and implementation of the pilots is underway.
Our fellows are supporting the pilot roll-out and also collaborating with the agency to evaluate the implementation process and eventual pilot outcomes. You can now download their Preliminary Evaluation Plan [pdf]. This plan will be followed by two more evaluation reports. The second report will assess pilot implementation, while the third will focus on project impacts. Watch for those later in 2014!
You can read all about the proposals in our how-to guide, but in brief, we recommended that HPD and its sister agency, the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), test the following approaches:
- Create new, human-centered informational materials
Implement, distribute, and sustain a series of new or redesigned informational materials to be used throughout the application process — from marketing to interview and lease-up.
- Encourage hyper-local marketing by developers
Supplement existing outreach by asking developers to share redesigned advertisements in public venues frequented by neighborhood residents.
- Support community-based housing ambassadors
Recognize the work of community-based groups and individuals who assist residents in applying for affordable housing by providing them with reliable information and resources.
- Form a street team for in-person HPD outreach
To address the lack of visibility and awareness of HPD and its affordable housing programs, employ a street team in strategic locations and at specific events in order to highlight HPD’s work, publicize resources, and broaden the pool of applicants.
Combined, the goal of these pilots is to create a new knowledge-sharing infrastructure that enables a dynamic and reciprocal exchange of information between New York City residents, community-based partners, housing developers, and HPD leadership and front-line staff. The intended design objectives of the knowledge-sharing infrastructure are to:
- Encourage information accessibility and exchange.
- Account for applicants’ lived reality.
- Enable more informed decision-making.
Through formative evaluation, it is hoped that HPD and the project team can determine the extent to which each pilot plan embodied the design objectives. In addition, evaluation will help HPD understand what aspects of the implementation process might need to be altered if the pilots are to be scaled citywide. To learn more about our evaluation activities, download the Preliminary Evaluation Plan [pdf].