HUD/HHS Work Together to Provide Greater Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

HUD/HHS Work Together to Provide Greater Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

HUD/HHS Work Together to Provide Greater Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

The efforts to increase access to COVID-19 vaccine options are underway, with a joint effort between the US Health and Human Services and the US Housing and Urban Development. The agencies are partnering up in an attempt at assisting communities that have been disproportionately affected by aspects related to COVID-19. This includes households obtaining assistance from HUD, as well as people in the midst of homelessness.

HUD/HHS Work Together to Provide Greater Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

As the HUD/HHS work together to provide greater access to COVID-19 vaccines, the partnership will leverage the COVID-19 vaccine program as a way to reach thousands of public housing properties, multi-family housing properties, and homeless shelters across the country. Through the collaboration, COVID-19 resource access will be increased in these at-risk communities in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus and assist in the well-being of families and individuals. Increased resources include readily available vaccinations and COVID-19 tests. 

While vaccination numbers continue to steadily increase, it is among the most vulnerable and at-risk populations that numbers remain low. Disabled individuals, senior citizens, minority and marginalized households, low-income families, and the homeless are the types of groups served by the HUD. By partnering together, the HUD and HHS will be able to expand these groups’ access to complete COVID-19 care and prevention.

This is a combined effort to further the purposes of the Biden administration, as it works to create a cohesive and effective COVID-19 response. As the efforts to vaccinate all Americans continue, the HUD/HHS partnership targets the vulnerable communities that could otherwise be left out. 

As a part of the effort, community health centers are being asked to reach out to the groups and grant recipients associated with the HUD. These groups include public housing authorities, single and multi-family owners, homeless providers, and more. 

As a public housing authority, you will be able to work together with your community health center to craft a seamless strategy for the prevention and mitigation of COVID-19. An effective strategy will include vaccination, testing, and treatments. 

With many Americans, including those in vulnerable communities, distrustful of the COVID-19 vaccine, part of a comprehensive strategy will include a cultural and educational approach to vaccine effectiveness and safety.

You may be asked to facilitate COVID-19 testing and vaccinations in your communities by providing registration and scheduling, as well as running on-site vaccination clinics in your housing development. 

Work with your community health center to determine how you can best serve your public housing sites and communities in this combined HUD/HHS COVID-19 response. Assisting in testing and vaccination is a huge step in the fight against COVID-19. If you need help with the organization, implementation, or related needs around software, reach out any time to a member of our team.


Implementation Best Practices for MyTenantPayments® 


MyTenantPayments®, the latest portal within Emphasys’ MyHousing suite, allows PHAs to accept online payments from their tenants. Whether they are paying with a credit card, debit card, or ACH, tenants are able to quickly and conveniently pay their PHA bills through a secure online platform.     

Wondering what it takes to implement this powerful and time-saving portal? Here are some best practices and other considerations for implementing MyTenantPayments® quickly and efficiently. In fact, PHAs that approach the implementation in the recommended manner are capable of getting the system live in a couple of weeks.

Implementation Best Practices for MyTenantPayments® 

Roll Out MyTenantPayments® Incrementally

Change can be difficult for staff and tenants alike especially when it comes to a new bill-paying process. Therefore, we recommend selecting a single development at your PHA as a test site. Limiting the rollout will limit the number of questions your staff will receive from tenants regarding the system. Once you are confident in this soft rollout, around two months later, you will be in a great position to open it up to your other developments or more tenants. 

Convenience Fees or Not

MyTenantPayments® allows the PHA to have complete control over the online payment process including whether to include convenience fees or not. As a PHA you should decide ahead of time if you are going to charge for using the service or not. For example, credit and debit cards can charge a certain percentage per transaction and ACH a different amount. PHAs even have the option of capping these fees for their tenants. Have this discussion with PHA Management ahead of time so you are ready with an answer during implementation.

Professional Services Steps In

Once you have your test tenants/development selected and have agreed on convenience fees, Emphasys staff can come in and work with the PHA to configure the system. This includes working with the PHA to get the sub-merchant setup, configuring and naming drawers in the accounting system for the online payments, and then linking the drawers to the Portal in the backend of the system. Finally, Emphasys works with their customers so they are comfortable using the MyTenantPayments® interface. PHA staff quickly learn how the administrative side of the system works so they can assist tenants who may have questions or need a little help understanding how to input payments. 

Monitor Data and Repeat

Once MyTenantPayments® is live at one of a PHA’s small developments, staff can easily monitor the flow of payments and use reporting to ensure there are no anomalies in the data moving through the system. Once the PHA has a comfort level with the portal, they can easily replicate the implementation and go-live steps and repeat the MyTenantPayments® rollout at any number of other developments.

Ready to see MyTenantPayments® in action? Contact us to schedule a demo today!