Simplified application process result of City Green Belt project
KAWARTHA LAKES – The City of Kawartha Lakes now offers a simplified application process for those wishing to apply for Financially Assisted Housing in the County of Haliburton and the City of Kawartha Lakes thanks to an Initiative Management Green Belt project.
As part of a process improvement initiative, a Green Belt team drastically reduced the length of the application for financially assisted housing. Furthermore, an online application was also created, to allow clients easier access when applying.
“We really wanted to look at how we can improve the application process for individuals applying to the Centralized Waiting List as well as streamlining the administration staff processes associated with the application process,” explained Manager of Housing and project team leader Hope Lee.
Joining Ms. Lee on the team were Affordable Housing Coordinator Michelle Corley, Customer Relations Representative Christine Jamieson, General Clerk Gail Zeldin, Property Coordinator Sandy Thomas, Housing Provider Barb Fawcett and tenant Nancy Shaw.
“I think there was a lot of apprehension about the project and about Lean Six Sigma when we started,” explained Ms. Lee. “But it became very clear early on the tools and processes offered through Lean Six Sigma were invaluable to the success of this project.”
As part of the team’s 11 meetings, Ms. Lee said the team wanted to know the different styles of applications which were available not only in the housing sector but also in the government and non-profit sectors. Team members were assigned to gathering approximately 80 different applications and determining which ones were able to be completed on line. The team analyzed the applications for clarity, legal ease wording, and instructions for completing and basic overall design. By gathering a number of different applications, the team could select the best approaches to incorporate into our new application design.
“All aspects of the application were examined, and recreated based on legislative requirements, research and feedback that we received through our test groups,” said Ms. Lee.
The previous application was 12-pages long with a guide that was an additional six pages. As a result of the Green Belt project that application has been replaced with a new three-page application or easy online application. Applicants will be placed on the wait list and then contacted approximately six months prior to potentially receiving an offer.
At that time staff will collect current financial information, proof of citizenship, and will carefully review with the applicant their selected housing choices to ensure that they are choosing housing that meets their needs. Applicants can also find out more about each prospective location by viewing the associated online information page.
“At the end of the project the results were obvious,” said Ms. Lee. “Applicants will find it much easier to apply, there is greater flexibility for applicants by allowing them to complete a shortened paper application, phone-in to complete the application or fill in the application online, as well as improving customer satisfaction.
"We had a great team of people to work with on this project and the key to our success was including the end user," Ms. Lee continued. "By having an engaged and committed team and working with the users of the application form really allowed us to develop a new process that works for everyone."
Applications can be obtained and submitted online at www.city.kawarthalakes.on.ca/applyforhousing or from the City of Kawartha Lakes Housing Department. For more information please call 705-324-6401.
For further information, please contact:
Manager of Housing
Social Housing Department
322 Kent Street West, P.O. Box 2600
Lindsay, Ontario K9V 4S7
Tel: (705) 324-6401
Fax : (705) 324-0428