Making dollars for homeless services go farther

4:30 pm

It’s 4:30 p.m. and Robert Roe, the lone maintenance staff member for LTHC Homeless Services, puts away his tools after fixing some flooring at an LTHC housing unit. Next, he takes out another tool: his cell phone. He taps an app and enters details about the repair.

It’s a small act, but cumulatively, Roe’s maintenance records at LTHC’s five residential buildings provide a powerful management tool. Before implementing the app, “We had no information,” says Michael Cruz, a volunteer and chairman of LTHC’s facilities committee. “It was crisis of the day. We needed to get a better handle on how our resources were being allocated.”

Thanks to Purdue’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP) and Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), that’s all changed.

TAP connected Cruz to Tyler Wright, web designer and developer for the Purdue Center for Regional Development. “He put together an app I consider very professional, very simple and excellent,” says Cruz.

He and staff now monitor maintenance data online. They’ve been using it daily since August 2018, and Cruz says it’s already provided useful data. For example, though family homes represent the smallest proportion of their housing stock, data showed that a disproportionate 55 percent of maintenance was on those homes.

Insights like that will grow even more valuable when LTHC adds 40 more housing units next year. “This app will help us to be smart about where we spend our money,” Cruz said, adding, “We couldn’t be happier.”

TAP has assisted approximately 19,000 organizations and trained more than 50,000 employees since the program began.