Amy Dain, Dain Research, Former Rappaport Policy Fellow and Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member
Cambridge Housing Authority
Kathleen Evans, Senior Program Manager for Policy and Technology
Description of Fellowship
During her Rappaport Summer Fellowship at the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA), Tara investigated rent payment alternatives and incentives for public housing residents’ to use mainstream financial services. CHA identified three goals for the project: Provide convenient rent payment options to residents, while supporting residents’ use of mainstream financial institutions; Identify cost effective solutions that save residents and CHA time and money; Streamline processes to harness technology better, including timely posting of rent. Tara reviewed CHA’s current practices, researched alternative technologies, and spoke with other housing authorities to identify alternatives and potential pilot programs. These included designing a clearer ledger, changing reporting software that will save significant staff time, and considering policies to avoid unnecessary delinquency proceedings. She worked with staff to propose three pilot programs including incentivizing direct draw, creating an online rent payment system, and reducing paper statements. She also helped initiate a plan to host a financial education fair to improve residents’ financial literacy and to solicit feedback on CHA’s rent payment initiatives.