Bloom Housing

The listings feature is the most visible aspect of the Bloom Housing system as it provides all the information an applicant needs to determine if the available housing opportunity is a fit.

The Problem

Oftentimes, local government agencies lack the resources and processes necessary to work with affordable housing providers to collate vacancies and open waitlist opportunities and update them in a single centralized place. 

Even when the information is centralized, eligibility Information for affordable housing opportunities such as AMI (average median income) and household size on advertisements and listings are unclear to housing seekers, making it difficult for applicants to accurately determine self eligibility. The Listings feature, Bloom Housing's most visible aspect, addresses these issues clarity. It provides all the information an applicant needs to determine if the available affordable housing opportunity is a fit.

The Approach

Although Exygy had a firm idea of what information should be included for a listing based on previous user research in San Francisco, when the system was expanded to Alameda County, the team needed to confirm hypotheses and work with local stakeholders to ensure every requirement was met. 

Through several stakeholder meetings and interviews — especially with affordable housing developers — minor adjustments were made to account for local community needs. 

After reviewing listing fields from San Francisco, San Mateo County, San Jose and comparing those to a sampling of affordable housing listings in Alameda County, Exygy recommended updating several fields, avoided some fields based on priorities, and embarked on additional research before making a recommendation to stakeholders.

The Impact
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In the end, Exygy made edits to the fields (in red) to ensure affordable housing developers, housing counselors, and jurisdictions in Alameda County had a Bloom Housing listings feature that worked for them. As additional partners implement the system, our knowledge gained through this process allows us to continue making further recommendations for new partners or existing partners to ensure we all learn together and from one another.  

rental application fields
Information included in Alameda County Listings

affordable housing rental application
Example of an online listing

Ensuring language access

The City and County of San Francisco, with Exygy’s development support, initially launched their affordable housing web portal in English only. The results were a digital application rate in the 80% range. When the web portal was translated to San Francisco’s most-spoken languages, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, and Filipino, the digital application rate jumped up to 92%. This meant that 92% percent of applications were submitted online through the digital application process, while only 8% of applications were submitted via a paper application. 

mobile affordable housing application

Accessibility for people with visual and physical disabilities

The housing portal adheres to Section 508 and WCAG accessibility guidelines and includes designing with minimum Color Contrast for people with visual disabilities and Keyboard Accessibility for people with physical disabilities. Throughout the design process, Exygy partnered with local nonprofits to set up accessibility testing with potential applicants to ensure the housing portal was accessible to all. 

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Want to work together?

We are always looking to get in touch with partners to help build healthy and resilient communities together
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