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How Unqork Empowers Agencies to Deliver Public Services Effectively

Our Public Sector team helps agencies digitize their services. Danielle Tolan, Trustee of Westfield Washington Township, shares how they built Rent Relief on Unqork to help residents more quickly.

When it comes to providing housing assistance to those who have been hardest hit during the pandemic, local and state governments face a variety of challenges ranging from limited resources and constantly changing requirements to the management of the diverse needs of each individual community. Unqork is helping address these challenges with solutions that are helping to rapidly and accurately distribute rent relief, homeowners assistance, and other critical digital government services (e.g., complex case management, emergency response licensing and permitting, etc.). 

Unqork Create 2021 logoWhile Unqork’s Rent Relief application is currently being utilized across 11 jurisdictions around the country—soon to be 12—it all started in Hamilton County, Indiana. Unqork’s Clint Buytenhuys (VP of Public Enterprise Sales) and Theresa Ward (Head of State & Local) sat down for a virtual chat with the first adopter of Unqork Rent Relief, Danielle Carey Tolan, Trustee of Westfield Washington Township.

“I saw a brief overview of Unqork, and I knew then that it was exactly the platform that I wanted to have for our Emergency Rental Assistance Program here in Hamilton County."

“Since I've been Township Trustee, I've always been looking for ways to be prepared and to be proactive and not reactive,” says Danielle of her duty to serve constituents quickly, especially during emergencies like COVID-19. “I saw a brief overview of Unqork, and I knew then that it was exactly the platform that I wanted to have for our Emergency Rental Assistance Program here in Hamilton County. Most of the township government is very manual, and putting this platform into a digital format was just an easy transition for me.”

Danielle discusses the importance of having a technology partner truly listen to the current problems—from process improvements to resident needs—and create a solution that responds to them. For Hamilton County residents, those who were in middle to lower income households were the most vulnerable and needed to apply for funds quickly. Owing months of rent and facing eviction is harrowing, so the rental assistance application portal needed to be easy to access and use to make the process more bearable. “I couldn't imagine any other technology or firm out there that could build and listen like Unqork did. I can't wait to use Unqork for future things and develop other platforms because they know how to do it.”

"You know, it's a very complicated program—the treasury administering this ERAP, these rules that were built into legislation. It's very hard to turn it very quickly into a real program, be able to do all the reporting that's needed, and then change the reporting pretty regularly.”

“I remember the first payment going through and how exciting that was and the first person that you prevented eviction for,” Theresa reminisces. “I always talk about you and your team and how you were so innovative. You know, it's a very complicated program—the treasury administering this ERAP, these rules that were built into legislation. It's very hard to turn it very quickly into a real program, be able to do all the reporting that's needed, and then change the reporting pretty regularly.”

Danielle shares the respect around the partnership. “I think [Unqork Rent Relief] is very sophisticated. I tell people all the time when I am out there talking to all the municipalities that this platform is so modern and so advanced that if you're not using it, you are behind.”

Watch the video to learn the full story behind the amazing effort that was put behind distributing rent relief to Westfield Washington Township residents in need. 

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