Center for NYC Neighborhoods

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We partnered with the Center for New York City Neighborhoods to build a virtual Homeowner Hub and SMS web tool that gets NYC residents the information they need efficiently, enabling the Center to scale the impact of their work.

ABOUT THE CENTER FOR NEW YORK CITY NEIGHBORHOODS
The Center promotes and protects affordable homeownership in New York so that middle- and working-class families are able to build strong, thriving communities. The Center and its network partners offer free high-quality housing services to NYC homeowners, helping to keep homeownership affordable by responding to the ongoing effects of the foreclosure crisis, the rising cost of homeownership, predatory scams, rising sea levels, and more extreme weather.

CHALLENGE
Today, there are dozens of home repair programs and other homeowner services in the city, all with separate applications and managed by different organizations within the Center’s network. This makes it difficult for people to find and then apply for these services.
 
The Center already has a Homeowner Hub (phone service) that does light counseling and case management, and refers callers to services that may be a good fit for them. Their East New York Homeowner Help Desk also provides counseling and referrals in person. However, they are looking to scale their impact and reach more people. In order to do this, the Center needed help figuring out what a digital solution might look like.
 
TEAM
Chris Butler – Product Manager
Vanessa Dean - Engineer
Bradford Windsor - Engineer
Hang Xu – UX & Visual Designer
 
DELIVERABLES
 
A working prototype for a virtual “Homeowner Hub”
The Homeowner Hub is a simple way for homeowners to get updates on their current referral status and will help NYC residents easily find homeownership-related services in one place.
 
An SMS web tool and pilot
This tool is a simple way to allow for conversations between the HUB associates and homeowners. to help prove their hypothesis of SMS being valuable with opt-in through 311.
 
IMPACT
The Center now has a working prototype to test and iterate on the solution to prepare for the next stage of development. Ultimately, the solution will make it easier for the Center and their network of community-based nonprofits to help their clients identify and apply to services, and also provide another channel of engagement for individuals who are independently looking for services.