How Do I Choose the Best Public Housing Authority Software?

Best Public Housing Authority Software

It’s hard for public housing authorities (PHAs) to effectively manage the complex regulations, multiple subsidy types, and day-to-day demands necessary for providing affordable housing. But, by using the best public housing authority software, these tasks can become much more manageable. The right software means focusing on automation and having access to the data and the tools you need, and it means building a well-connected community. This post will help guide agencies as they step through the process of selecting the best public housing authority software.

Establish Your Team

The first thing you want to do is put together a strong team that can flesh out the technology goals for your PHA. Make sure your team is comprised of key leaders from the areas that will have the most impact on the software. This should include project sponsors, subject matter experts, and some technical experts.

Utilization of the Software

Your project team should be able to pull together a chart or document that will detail the goals, risks, and milestones for the project. They should be able to determine the functionality of the PHA software and what you need it to do by determining your PHA’s daily tasks. This will play a significant role when it comes to finalizing software options.


The budget is an important factor and the PHA productivity software you select should be within your budget. That also includes the number of licenses you will need, so the project team should also determine who or how many people will need to use the software. Be sure to also consider implementation and training costs.

Research Vendors

The project team should do due diligence when it comes to finalizing the list of software vendors. If the software doesn’t fit the needs of the PHA, that helps to eliminate that vendor from the long list. Compliance is key and well-designed software can go a long way in ensuring that your PHA is HUD compliant. Some things your project team may want to consider include:

  • Are there different layers of compliance for HUD, Public Housing, and Tax Credit programs?
  • Does the vendor have a dedicated HUD specialist?
  • Is fully automated tenant certification processing for a variety of compliance programs included?
  • Is there a waitlist module that deals with turnover processing and is it designed to ensure units are offered only to eligible households?
  • How does a vendor secure a PHA’s data?

These are just some of the questions the team needs to ask. Some other important things to consider during the due diligence process are:

Length of Time in Business

It’s always good to know how long a vendor has been in business serving the affordable housing space. This aspect helps speak to the stability of the company and software. Another good item to evaluate is how many employees does the business has, and what are their roles. Maintenance and support are critical for any support purchase, so you’ll want to know how the vendor handles this responsibility.

You expect the public housing software you purchase to be around for a while. That means the software should continue to meet upcoming needs through regular updates. If the vendor has been around for a while, they’ve likely done a ton of software updates. Look at how their software has evolved over the years. That gives a good indication of their ability to keep up with the demands and needs of the industry.

Software Functionality

Can the software under consideration do everything you’ve already determined you need it to do? If not, can it be upgraded or is there the ability for custom programming? What is the future outlook of the software? What is the vision for the software from the vendor’s perspective? You want to ensure the functionality of the software meets your intentions.

To know for sure if the software meets your intentions, ask for a demo of the product. You should be able to see most of the functionality working on their application. They should be able to walk you through some of the key functions you have implied you need. Using mock data, they should be able to generate the type of reports you need. If so, this is a good indication that the software can work for your company, even if it needs tweaking.

The important thing is to ensure the vendor knows your needs for your PHA. So be prepared during the demo to take good notes and ask the right questions. It’s up to them to show you they can meet them.


Ensure the vendor has a clear plan for training your staff that includes multiple modes for training. Documentation should be available in different forms — manuals, videos, web-based, etc. Set out clear goals for the training and ask to see the documentation before training. With hybrid situations being more of the norm, ensure that training takes place remotely and on-site to ensure the software functions as it should, regardless of where the staff is working from.

Looking for new public housing authority software? We’d love to chat with you. Schedule a demo today! 

PIC-NG is coming – Are you ready?


Emphasys Consulting works with many PHAs, and we have performed years of Voucher Management System (VMS) reporting for their respective Housing Choice Voucher Programs (HCVP). We also have been engaged by clients to assist with HUD’s Quality Assurance Division (QAD) audits of the HCVP and VMS reporting. In our many years of experience, we have routinely found that many PHAs struggle to maintain the VMS reporting category and the tenant Voucher type accurately. This means that both VMS and PIC reporting is not correct.

We’ve been hearing from HUD that PIC-NG is coming and, although the release of PIC-NG is currently a little behind schedule, it will be here very soon, and it will be replacing VMS reporting.

So, what does this mean?

HUD uses the VMS reporting system to perform what they refer to as Cash Management, meaning that PHAs receive their funding from HUD based on the information that is entered into HUD’s online VMS system.

When HUD replaces the PHA manually entered VMS reporting requirement, they will replace it by using the Tenant Characteristics Report (HUD Form 50058) data that is transmitted each month to the HUD PIC system to determine both the voucher count by voucher increment type and your expenses in order to determine your funding.

We are expecting that, upon implementation of PIC-NG, there will be a period of uncertainty in data accuracy requiring reconciliation to get PIC-NG information accurate. During this reconciliation process, we don’t know how HUD will determine your funding which we know will complicate matters and potentially delay funding.

Emphasys Consulting would like to help you ensure the highest level of accuracy of your 50058 data now, so your PIC-NG implementation experience is as smooth as possible.

Contact Emphasys Consulting today!

GASB 87 – Capital Leases: Are you ready for the changes to lease accounting?

Effective for fiscal years starting on or after July 1, 2021, all leases (with certain exceptions) will become Capital Leases if they have a term greater than 12 months. GASB 87 applies to both the lessee and the lessor. The determining factors are many and varied, including lease term; right to use/sole control; total of the lease payments as compared to your capitalization threshold; and the type of lease. The changes can require items to be maintained as a part of your fixed assets with an offsetting liability and either amortized or depreciated accordingly. Footnote disclosures are required.

Since the audited financial statements of your organization also include comparative prior year financial statements, GASB 87 requires retroactive implementation of the pronouncement for reporting purposes which includes the restatement of the financials for the prior year in the first year of GASB 87 implementation’s audit report.

The process to perform the implementation of this pronouncement is intricate and detailed and the need to perform the work accurately in a comprehensive well-documented fashion is imperative.

Emphasys Consulting can assist you with the implementation of GASB 87, the analysis and documentation, adjusting entries for both the current and prior year. We also can do the analysis to determine if, based on your leasing experience and plans, an update to your capitalization policy is appropriate.

Contact Emphasys Consulting today!