Aspen housing authority seeks to declutter online portal

The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority is replacing its customer portal within its online platform after hearing negative user feedback that it is difficult to navigate.

APCHA is replacing Salesforce with a new vendor, Revision Inc., and a $372,000 contract was approved this week by Aspen City Council.

HomeTrek launched in early 2021 to eliminate the agency’s reliance on paper in managing approximately 3,000 restricted act units under the taxpayer-funded program.

The community portal, accessible to thousands of people, is used for qualifications; offers to purchase units; access to unit information for owners; reporting compliance issues; general management of the property, such as rent payments and maintenance requests; visualization of available inventory; submission of capital improvement documentation; and launch a listing for a unit of sale.

Although APCHA has improved the portal, it still does not provide the streamlined, accurate, and easy-to-use experience that APCHA wants for its customers, and these shortcomings have made full adoption problematic, according to the director of the portal. ‘APCHA, Matthew Gillen.

The data tracking and online system requires each person who lives in a unit, or bids on a unit, to upload their financial information, including lists of assets and debts, tax returns, W-2s and bank statements.

The qualifying package interface proved intimidating for new users, as navigating the site can be cumbersome.

APCHA officials said users have also complained about the difficulty of locating apps and submitting supporting documents.

“The goal is to make it a little clearer,” said APCHA administrative specialist Maddie Feder.

Revision Inc. and APCHA will spend the next few months replacing the current Salesforce customer portal with a portal built using WordPress and Revision.

The goal is to provide improved service to customers, simplify portal and website administration for staff, and reduce or eliminate Salesforce Community Portal costs.

“When we started looking at this project, we were hoping to see significant licensing savings and there will be with the community licensing portion of Salesforce, which is currently $61,600 per year,” Gillen told the board. “We really hope this increases community access to HomeTrek, increases our efficiency when we get the information, and we really hope it makes a big difference to our customers and customers.”

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