The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority launches a cloud platform that gets ERAP funding to the people who need it most.

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“The IERA [Indiana Emergency Rental Assistance] program is a critical housing program that is designed to prevent evictions and promote housing stability for Indiana renters who've experienced a hardship related to the global pandemic,” said Jacob Sipe, Executive Director of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). “We are providing housing opportunities, promoting self-sufficiency, and strengthening communities in doing so— three major components of the IHCDA mission statement.”

The IHCDA delivers more than housing assistance programs and services. It delivers safety, stability, and the foundation for many of Indiana’s communities. “We have had the opportunity to know their struggles, support them in their journey, and celebrate their success on a personal level,” said Annette Richard, IT Director at IHCDA. “Historically IHCDA’s work has been face-to-face or locally through sub-grantee programs. When COVID-19 struck, face-to-face was no longer an option.” The idea to provide Salesforce licenses of this type to the state was first prompted by Tracy Barnes, Indiana Office of Technology Chief Information Officer, and adopted by the IHCDA to bring motion to the narrative and life to the mission.


Keeping pace with COVID dynamics requires a new approach.

At the same time, the government released an unprecedented amount of emergency rental assistance (ERA) funding to help combat the pandemic’s economic impact, which had to be distributed against some exceptionally high benchmarks set by the Department of Treasury. The existing infrastructure could not manage and maintain the new volume of vulnerable renters and landlords, therefore presenting a clear objective for IHCDA to achieve. The end result was an incredibly fast-moving timeline that the team had to navigate without a playbook:

  • February 2020: early discussions around the potential need for rental assistance started happening and the funding received was part of the CARES Act.
  • June 2020: IHCDA was awarded $11 M in CARES funding. “We believed this would be a short term, time bound project. The goal being to get the funding awarded within a few months and stabilize housing for Indiana residents,” Richard continued.
  • August 2020: COVID only grew worse over the summer with the Delta variant. IHCDA was awarded another $40 M in CARES funding. “And again, we had to get that money distributed as fast as possible. It was at this point that we began to realize this was going to be a multi-year program.”
  • To date: IHCDA has received over $372 M in CARES funding. “The quick-and-easy case management system we stood up at the beginning of the pandemic wouldn’t fit the needs of a long-term effort. The original system could not perform complex calculations or manage quarterly payments to multiple parties.”

And with each new disbursement came an increase of the eligibility pool, a change in guidelines from the Department of Treasury, and an overall heightened level of emotion as the team worked to protect the state’s most vulnerable. “We were already restructuring our business model. Then with these new benchmarks, we also had to change our processes, policies, the pace at which we worked.” said Richard. “We couldn’t just build a replica of our old system. We had to build a system that would streamline the review and approval process, shortening the number of days from application to payment.

That direction was the cloud.


Indiana moves ERAP to the cloud.

The team re-platformed its rental assistance system on the FedRAMP-authorized Salesforce Government Cloud+ platform. It delivers typical grants management capabilities with the speed, clarity, and security required of a PII-heavy, emergency response scenario in English and Spanish. Revelant Technologies, a Salesforce Consulting Partner, worked directly with IHCDA to serve as their solutions integrator:

Self-service, digital intake forms: Residents who might be eligible for the IERA program are invited to visit the IHCDA’s website and create a profile by completing a series of dynamic fields that capture basic information; name, address, income, monthly rent, documents like lease agreements or paystubs, and more. This has helped the team focus more time and energy on the work that is truly mission-critical. “In the old system, IHCDA had to dedicate an entire team of people to create spreadsheets and manually find duplicates – if someone logged their address as 512 South St. on their SNAP form, and then logged it as 512 South Street when applying for ERA funding, the old system couldn’t associate the two,” said Bob Braun, Executive Vice President, Public Sector, and Founder at RevTech360.

Case management-style review and approvals: Once a resident submits their IERA application, the team can review the request, tag subject matter experts on specific questions, and issue funds against eligibility calculations generated by the platform’s OmniScript capabilities. If the resident is already approved for a program like SNAP or HIP, the household will meet the income eligibility criteria with no additional documentation required.

Advanced business operations tools: Integrated reports and dashboards enable the team to report on overall status, demographic information, and more in real-time. OmniScripts can be updated with a few clicks, not re-writing lines of code, making the platform as agile as the pandemic demands. “At one point, Treasury changed their guidelines in a way that required IHCDA to get a more detailed explanation of what happened to an applicant. We updated the workflow rules to make that a required field, as well as push a notification to outstanding applicants to log back into the portal and update that information. This saves the team a lot of back and forth emails and phone calls,” said Braun. “We’ve adjusted the OmniScript probably three or four times now.”

Single source of truth: IHCDA’s platform strategy creates a single source of truth that helps the team detect fraudulent activity. “We can see if someone is submitting an application for more than one address, or if an address is attached to more than one application,” said Braun. “We can also flag applications that come in from outside the state and/or country for additional review, surface inconsistencies that don’t add up, and in general do everything we can to help IHCDA distribute ERA funding with confidence.”


Learn more about the products behind this example.

Service Cloud

Salesforce’s CRM product, configured to meet the unique needs of customer service and case management.

Experience Cloud

Salesforce’s tool for building online community portals.


Advanced API capabilities.

Public Sector Solutions

Cloud solutions, purpose-built for the public sector – out-of-the-box grants management, license and permitting, inspections, and more.


Cloud-based API consulting and professional services, specializing in Salesforce Industries, Service Cloud, and MuleSoft practice.
And this is all available via desktop or mobile, giving people the same functionality from the field or working from home as they have come to expect from the traditional, pre-COVID office environment.

Real results = meaningful impact.

Two people at RevTech360 re-platformed all of this and pushed it live over the course of just five months. It has reduced IHCDA’s temporary staffing needs by 150 seats, consolidated scripts from 11 to 5, and brought multiple systems – “we used to have to manage vendors in a separate system, and import that data manually via spreadsheets” – together on one platform.

Most importantly, “this strategy has empowered us to run a more efficient program,” said Richard. “The more efficient we can make this program, the more money that goes back to the people who need it. And with a program this large, it means we are truly making an impact.”

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