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Emphasys Software Awarded SOC 2 Type 1 Certification

PEMBROKE PINES, FLJune 10, 2021 – Emphasys Software (Emphasys) is proud to announce that it has successfully completed the Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Type 1 audit. With this SOC 2 Type 1 designation, Emphasys continues to demonstrate its commitment to best-in-class compliance and data security standards for our affordable housing customers.

The SOC 2 certification process affirms that Emphasys Software’s information security practices, policies, procedures, and operations meet the SOC 2 standards for security, availability, processing, integrity, privacy, and confidentiality in the cloud.

“Our SOC 2 certification shows customers that Emphasys takes customer data safety and security on the internet very seriously,” said Dave Badun, General Manager of Emphasys. “With the increasing risk of ransomware attacks on public housing authorities, it is of the utmost importance that we provide assurances of security and reliability of Emphasys to all our customers and their residents.”

By meeting the stringent requirements to receive a SOC 2 standard of security, Emphasys provides a broad range of capabilities and benefits for any public housing agency with an assurance that our internal controls have undergone the most rigorous review. This creates peace of mind and convenience when, for example, residents are making rent payments or are filling out rental applications online with personal information being stored in the cloud.

About Emphasys Software:

As a pioneer of enterprise software for public housing authorities, Emphasys has set the standard for innovative compliance-based business solutions since 1976. Emphasys’ software is used to help manage and house nearly one million families through over 200 of the nation’s leading, and many of the nation’s largest, public housing authorities. Emphasys offers a complete suite of enterprise software applications with service and support that automates business processes efficiently and effectively. Emphasys Software is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Constellation Software Inc. (TSX:CSU).

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.

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Implementation Best Practices for MyTenantPayments® 

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!

 

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An Online Tenant Payment Portal Designed for the Needs of Today’s PHAs

Tenant Payment Portal

Without the right tenant payment portal, it can be a challenge to collect monthly payments from your residents. The more tenants you have, the more challenging and confusing it can become. The last thing you want at the end of the month is to have to search out payments that were missed or lost.

To combat the struggles of ineffective, disorganized tenant payment processes, your tenants need a simple, effective way to make payments. They need a seamless, streamlined platform that lets them make secure, online payments using debit cards, credit cards, and ACH.

They need MyTenantPayments®.

The Tenant Payment Portal You Need

What is MyTenantPayments?

Emphasys Elite’s MyTenantPayments is the most efficient and cohesive online tenant payment platform out there for use by Public Housing Authorities. Instead of inconveniencing yourself and your tenants with confusing and inefficient payment methods, you can make the process fast, simple, and safe.

With MyTenantPayments, you and your tenants will have access to a streamlined platform that has a number of capabilities and features, which provide the easiest way to make and receive payments. Features include:

 

Debit, credit, and eCheck payments

Tenants are able to make their rent payments and other charges with the method of their choice; credit cards, debit cards, and eChecks are all acceptable forms of payment through MyTenantPayments. With this platform, making payments is seamless and convenient for tenants, and they are easily processed and collected for you.

 

Security

The MyTenantPayments platform was carefully crafted with security in mind. Online payments are an essential part of business today, however, people making online payments need to know that their private information will be kept safe. MyTenantPayments provides the security needed to give you and your tenants peace of mind.

 

Flexible and Automated

When people use a platform to make regular online payments, they should be able to set up automated payments and account notifications. The platform must also provide users the flexibility to change settings, payment methods, alerts, dates, and more, in a simple, easy-to-understand manner. The MyTenantPayments platform provides automation capabilities and the necessary flexibility to ensure streamlined payment processes.

 

Integration

MyTenantPayments is fully integrated with the Emphasys software, making your processes simplified and streamlined into one cohesive place. Instead of working with various third-party platforms, you can perform all of your processes and organization in one tenant payment portal.

 

Benefits of MyTenantsPayments Platform

When using the MyTenantPayments platform, there are a number of benefits that will ensure a high-quality payment experience for you and your tenants. Utilizing a tenant payment portal provides an effective and efficient way to collect payments and keep tenant information organized and secure.

It also lowers your costs by enabling you to accept electronic payments, streamlines the payment process, and helps ensure payments are made on time through automated payment reminders.

Collecting payments from tenants has never been easier or more secure. With the MyTenantPayments platform from Emphasys, you can put an end to confusing, late payments by using seamless payment solutions.

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

National Fair Housing Month | Public Housing News

National Fair Housing Month

April is National Fair Housing Month— a month to commemorate the passing of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, expanding on previous acts to prohibit discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of a house based on race, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or family status. Title VIII of the Act is known as the Fair Housing Act. The act furthers the beliefs of Civil Rights icons like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The theme for National Fair Housing Month 2021 is Fair Housing: More than Just Words. This year’s theme reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to advance housing equity and the importance of raising awareness about our right as Americans to fair housing.

HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said, “Fair Housing Month is a time to recommit to our nation’s obligation to ensure that everyone has equal access to safe, affordable housing. Unfortunately, housing discrimination still exists, from individuals and families being denied a place to call home because of the color of their skin or where they come from, to landlords refusing to allow persons with disabilities to keep assistance animals, to individuals being denied a place to live because of who they love.”

Fudge continued by saying that fair housing is more important than ever during these times of unprecedented crisis. 

Every April, HUD is joined by local communities, fair housing advocates and organizations nationwide to commemorate Fair Housing Month by hosting activities to highlight HUD’s fair housing enforcement efforts, enhance public awareness of fair housing rights, and emphasize the need to end housing discrimination.

Fair Housing Month is a reminder that the principle of fair housing is not just in terms of state and federal law, but it is also a fundamental human right. America is made up of people of all races, classes, backgrounds, religions, and abilities, and our housing system should reflect that.

Ways to Commemorate Fair Housing Month

We’re proud to partner with so many incredible PHA’s that are working to make housing fairer every day. If you’re looking for a software vendor to better support you in these efforts, schedule a free consultation today!

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Accountants On Call for PHAs: What to Do When Your Finance Manager Leaves

There’s never a good time to lose your CFO/DOF/Finance Manager. Finance Managers handle everything from reporting requirements and audit cycles to coordinating the day-to-day activities of a PHA’s Finance Department.  They are a valuable part of your management team, providing the information you want and need to make the right decisions for your agency, your staff and/or your tenants.

The departure of the Finance Manager leaves a gaping hole. Tasks that will go undone range from supervising the daily fiscal operations of the agency, including oversight of accounting, financial reporting, audits, budget administration, revenue collection, inventory management, payroll processing, non-profit tax returns and funds investing, to providing you with information and analysis for decision-making.  Finance Managers also likely complete aPHA’s Operating Subsidy Calculation, and Unaudited and Audited FDS and tracks RNP on a monthly-basis, requesting HUD-held funds when needed.  Depending on the size of your PHA, your Finance Manager also has a significant list of “Other Roles as Assigned.”

CONSEQUENTLY, it takes some time to find the right person.  You want to find that person who is capable of not only heading your Finance Team but also being a leader in your Management Team.

Because your Finance Manager is so essential to the success of your PHA, perhaps your best strategy as you look for the right person is to use an Interim Finance Manager.  Our Accountant On Call (AOC) service may be perfect for you.  The AOC sets aside a number of hours for our experts to help, and you use as many (or as few) hours as you need while you search for your permanent Finance Manager.

Emphasys Consulting can help you “bridge that gap.”  We provide fee accounting, audit/review support and other management consulting services to PHAs of all sizes, and our strength lies in our range of experience and depth of industry knowledge.  Our team consists of focused, customer-sensitive professionals whose specialties include certified public accountants, IREM and NCHM certified managers and experts who understand the “what, why and how” of effective PHA management.

  • We know and understand the complex rules and regulations of HUD.
  • We know effective and efficient PHA operations and management.
  • We know technology.

Perhaps short-term Accountant on Call help is just what you need in the interim. Contact us for a no-obligation assessment of your needs.

What to Look for in a PHA Software Vendor

PHA Software Vendor

The Public Housing sector has benefited from software vendors offering solutions with the goal of streamlining and automating processes. But beware, not every PHA software vendor is the same. Effective PHA software is integrative, comprehensive, and simple to use, creating efficient solutions for public housing authorities. 

There are a number of reputable PHA software vendors to choose from. For software solutions that will best meet your needs, you need to understand exactly what you should look for when searching for in a PHA software vendor.

Essential PHA Software Vendor Features

Due to the nature of public housing authority software, there are certain features that you’ll want from your vendor. These features help to ensure that your PHA has effective, efficient, seamless processes. 

Customer Care

When it comes to PHA software, the last thing you want is to be left on your own. You need to know that you’re working with a vendor that provides great customer care support behind the scenes to assist and support you as you utilize the public housing authority solutions. 

Look for a PHA software vendor that is keenly focused on ensuring their clients receive efficient, accurate, and actionable support. By finding a vendor that offers top-notch customer support, you’ll know that you’re not on your own. You’ll have someone to walk you through any questions or troubles that arise, keeping your software, and processes, running smoothly. 

Data Conversion

In the Public Housing sector, seamless data conversion is essential. With any PHA software that you use, you’ll need to know that your data is secure and will be properly stored and converted through any migration. 

Your PHA software vendor should focus intently on effective data conversion. This means that they will invest a significant amount of time and money in migration, as well as dedicate an expert team of professionals. Knowing that data conversion will be accurate, secure, and effective is an essential component for your peace of mind when it comes to your PHA software. 

Financial & Management Consulting

The public housing authority has one main goal – serving the families in their community and meeting their needs. It’s important that every PHA is set up for success to assist their community. 

When it comes to finding a PHA software vendor, you’ll want to make sure that they have optimized their financial management service operations and resources in order to best serve your community’s families. This means your PHA software vendor will provide guidance and consulting to actively and effectively serve your community. 

Professional Services

When choosing a PHA software vendor, you will want to look for a company that offers implementation and training services. Your software is a necessary tool for public housing, however, without the resources needed to properly implement and use it, you’ll be missing out on the features you need. 

Make sure your vendor offers a number of professional services to assist you, including cohesive implementation and training. You’ll be able to effectively utilize your software to streamline your processes and serve families. 

Emphasys Software – PHA Software Vendor 

Not every PHA software vendor has the features you need for success. Take the time to find a high-quality vendor that will meet your needs and help you serve the families in your community. 

Emphasys Software is committed to serving the public housing sector. With high-quality PHA software solutions, we provide customer care, data conversion, financial and management consulting, and the professional services you need. 

SCHEDULE A CALL WITH EMPHASYS TODAY!

Hosted Software: Working from Home in the Age of Covid

Hosting is a good option to enable your staff to continue working safely.

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Avoiding a ransomware attack

Don’t let your data get held hostage: Avoiding a ransomware attack.

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What’s your emergency preparedness plan?

Emphasys is positioned to help PHAs plan for and recover from disasters and emergencies in a variety of ways.