Housing Case Study - U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

The Office of Public and Indian Housing-Real Estate Assessment Center (PIH-REAC) is responsible to improve housing quality and assure public trust by providing timely, accurate and objective assessments of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) public housing portfolio. The Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) measures the performance of Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) within this framework in accordance with the legislative PHAS Interim Rule. PHAS is supported by comprehensive scoring mechanisms that derive a single integrated score for each PHA based on its performance as measured in the four scoring indicators: physical, financial, management operations and capital fund. It is essential that these PHAS assessments are accurately communicated to the PHAs in a timely manner as these assessments are viewed as a comprehensive oversight tool that effectively and fairly provides standard housing performance measures which is the responsibility of iNtegrated Assessment Subsystem (NASS). Thomas & Herbert Consulting LLC (T&H) has supported PIH-REAC NASS since 2003 and has served as a major change agent as the need for more robust business intelligence solutions became evident.

PHAS scores are currently and have been primarily produced via Microsoft Access databases as an alternative scoring production system to the online system. These databases were created and are currently maintained by T&H for the Transition Year 2 Extended, PHAS Interim Rule Year #1 (PIR1) and #2 (PIR2) periods so that REAC could continue to produce its flagship product, PHAS scores. Ultimately, the PHA and Field Office stakeholders will interface and access the online Secure Systems, which they will use to view accurate PHAS scores and Designations, Indicator scores and sub-indicator details, track waivers, petitions and appeals, communicate with NASS staff through the correspondence engine, and leverage robust MicroStrategy reports. To extend the capability of our team and meet the evolving needs of HUD, T&H engaged MicroStrategy subject matter experts to work on-site at HUD and in partnership with our NASS delivery team. Although the PHAS Interim Rule is the focal point of the Secure Systems, the NASS Business Requirements document and Requirements Matrix provides the foundation of how the system can address both perpetual and current requirements, thus providing a solution to business problems and inefficient processes. It is through user acceptance testing that we are able to ensure that new and enhanced functionality will provide accurate PHAS scores that are communicated to the PHAs and Field Offices through Secure Systems. These stakeholders depend a great deal on the underlying data being accurate and this is also accomplished through validating and verifying data in the PIH-REAC Data Warehouse before it is provided and displayed via MicroStrategy reports. Furthermore, accurate data is imperative as REAC Senior Management uses ad-hoc reporting for its decision-making and to provide PHAS scoring data to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Office of Inspector General (OIG), and Congress. To further serve it’s stakeholders, REAC will offer training curriculums to enable PHAs, Field Offices, and HUD Staff to remain abreast of PHAS Indicator scoring impacts, PHAS rule changes, and Secure Systems training, to name a few. Under PHAS Interim Rule, the management operations assessment has been performed through the analysis of Financial Data Schedule (FDS) data submitted to FASS. This contract includes the provision for on-site management reviews, which may be required as REAC prepares for the next PHAS Rule that will most likely address the statutorily required management operations sub-indicators. The provision of training and management reviews will support REAC and its stakeholders in moving forward with a management operations indicator that addresses all of the statutorily required components.

T&H has continued this partnership with REAC in achieving its strategic goals. We fully recognize and understand how to respond to HUD NASS operational demands created by evolving PHAS scoring rules and recent changes in PHA operations as a result of the mandated conversion to asset management.