FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 6, 2016
NYCHA ANNOUNCES HANDHELD MAINTENANCE INITIATIVE, PROVIDING FRONTLINE STAFF WITH SMARTPHONES TO STREAMLINE REPAIRS AND IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE; INTRODUCES NEW PUBLIC SPACE FEATURE TO RESIDENTS’ MOBILE REPAIR APP
Over 1,200 frontline staff equipped with handheld devices at 172 developments, increasing speed and efficiency of maintenance and repairs –– remaining staff to join Digital Workforce by Spring 2017
Handheld Maintenance initiative will enhance sustainability at NYCHA, as staff transition from paperwork to digital
New feature in MyNYCHA Mobile App empowers residents to create work orders for needed repairs in public spaces, including lobbies, lights, mailboxes, and more
166,000 work order tickets created through MyNYCHA Mobile App since launch
NEW YORK–– The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced it will be providing frontline staff with mobile smartphones for more efficiently and effectively managing maintenance and other repairs––moving away from the outdated paperwork used for processing this information since NYCHA first opened in the 1930s. As NYCHA becomes a more modern, customer-service-driven landlord, the Authority is equipping employees with 21st-century digital tools to streamline workflow and improve residents’ quality of life. At the same time, the Authority is further empowering residents to identify maintenance and repair issues at NYCHA developments by introducing a new public space feature to the MyNYCHA Mobile App. The new public space feature enables residents to create work orders for more than 200 different public space maintenance and repair issues, including broken lobby doors, lights, leaks and garbage.
NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye said, “Investing in and equipping staff with 21st-century tools is essential to improving customer service and creating safer, cleaner, more connected NYCHA communities. Transitioning to a digital-friendly workforce will streamline our day-to-day operations and allow staff to spend more time focused on residents, and less time filling out paperwork.”
NYCHA’s Workforce Going Digital with Handheld Maintenance Initiative:
As part of NYCHA’s Handheld Maintenance Initiative, frontline staff across NYCHA will be equipped with Samsung Galaxy smartphones for managing maintenance and repair requests. As residents alert NYCHA to necessary repair issues through the MyNYCHA Mobile App or the Customer Contact Center, supervisors can assign work tickets in real time and employees are alerted immediately.
This transition to a digital workforce will save staff time handling workloads, as they can view, address, and close out work orders from the field––without having to make multiple visits to the management office. This time saved means staff can focus additional efforts on assisting residents. Additionally, this initiative advances the goals outlined in NYCHA’s Sustainability Agenda, as the Authority is transitioning away from traditional hardcopy paperwork staff have used for processing this information since NYCHA was created 80 years ago. Cost savings from this streamlining will be invested back into NYCHA developments.
NYCHA began training employees on the new system in July after launching a successful pilot program in January of this year. So far, over 1,200 of the Authority’s frontline employees have joined the Handheld Maintenance Initiative, with remaining frontline staff going digital by Spring 2017.
“The smartphones help us provide better service in terms of communications with staff and residents,” said Superintendent Kurn Dick, Gowanus Houses.
For video of maintenance staff training and using new digital tools, click here.
NYCHA Empowers Residents with New Public Space Feature in Mobile Repair App:
Launched in September of 2015, the MyNYCHA Mobile App puts the repair process in residents’ hands by empowering them to create service requests 24/7. Until recently, residents could only create service requests pertaining to the inside of their apartments. Now, with the newly-introduced public space feature, residents can use the app to create repair requests for issues they identify in the public spaces of the building where they reside. Using the MyNYCHA app, residents can alert staff to 209 different public space maintenance issues, including broken doors, lights, leaks, trash, and more.
The MyNYCHA Mobile App, which works on mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets, can be used by residents to open, view, and manage work tickets, including history of closed work orders; receive real-time alerts for development outages and updates on progress of repairs; and schedule or reschedule repair dates, reducing calls to NYCHA’s Customer Call Center (CCC) while connecting residents directly to services. A web version of the app is also available for residents seeking to utilize MyNYCHA’s features from a computer in their homes, the library, or NYCHA’s Digital Vans.
Since initially launching the MyNYCHA Mobile App last year, additional features have been added, including Spanish-language access and the ability to sign up for the NYCHA Journal. MyNYCHA has been downloaded more than 37,000 times––and has been used to generate over 166,000 work orders.
Users Share Feedback Through the MyNYCHA Mobile App:
So far, users have responded positively to the app, sharing feedback in the app’s comment section:
NYCHA Self-Service Portal: As part of the New York City Housing Authority’s goal to enhance customer service, NYCHA launched a Self-Service Portal in 2013 – an internet-based site that allows applicants, Public Housing residents, and Section 8 voucher-holders to complete many transactions online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
NYCHA’s Digital Vans: NYCHA’s Digital Vans––computer labs on wheels––advance the NextGeneration NYCHA goal of improving quality of life by providing residents with increased internet access and improved digital literacy through tutorials. The Authority has three Digital Vans that visit 29 developments citywide biweekly. Over 9,000 customers have been served since NYCHA launched the Digital Van initiative in 2014—from seniors learning how to use a computer and opening email accounts, to children and teens doing research for their homework. One resident even earned a college degree using the Digital Van computers because she didn’t have access at home. In addition to this year’s recognition from NAHRO, last year, NYCHA’s Digital Van initiative was a semifinalist for the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Innovations in American Government Award.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said, “Logging and acting on NYCHA residents’ work orders directly through a smartphone app is a positive step that makes it easier to deliver accountable service. I’m glad to see this service expanded beyond apartments to include NYCHA’s public spaces and facilities as well.”
Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the City Council Committee on Technology, said, “I’m extremely pleased that NYCHA will be modernizing their technology infrastructure by issuing their field staff handheld devices, along with updating their MyNYCHA app. It makes sense to have NYCHA’s field staff connected in real time to the repair system. Workers can now spend more time in the field, eliminating the need for time-consuming paperwork and trips to the management office. Additionally, I’m hopeful that the MyNYCHA app update will greatly improve the relationship between tenants and NYCHA management.”
Council Member Annabel Palma said, "NYCHA's recently updated app MyNYCHA app is an efficient way for its residents to communicate with staff to address myriad issues affecting the buildings and apartments that they live in. Now that NYCHA's field staff are now carrying handheld devices to respond to these inquiries, I foresee quicker turnarounds for addressing said issues. I am encouraged by NYCHA taking the initiative to become more responsive, and look forward to excitedly helping spread the word to the residents within my district residing in public housing."