Housing Authority to Adopt Best Practices, Optimize Efficiency


With its “Plan for Transformation,” the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is working to rebuild and modernize the nation’s third-largest public housing system. Thanks to a firm commitment from Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city’s public housing is undergoing a comprehensive renewal by redeveloping or rehabilitating 25,000 apartments for families and senior citizens. The CHA is also instituting major management reforms that will make its administration leaner and more fiscally disciplined.


Replacing its legacy business systems will help the organization improve data access and analysis as well as compliance with federal reporting requirements.


CHA has awarded a multi-million dollar contract for software and services to help reduce operating costs while improving service to employees and constituents.


Many of the CHA’s current business systems, such as purchasing, financials and project accounting, operate as disparate systems, making it difficult for the organization to view enterprise-wide data. The Lawson Financials, Human Resources and Procurement suites will provide one centralized system with a single user interface. The new system will automate core administrative tasks, such as purchasing, tracking spending, and personnel change approvals with the goal of reducing duplicate data entry. The CHA expects the applications will help reduce the time staff spends on tasks such as payroll and purchasing, allowing the organization to redirect limited resources toward better serving the residents of Chicago.


“Faced with a growing demand for efficiency, accountability, and measurable results, our current systems are not flexible enough to give us the kind of financial, human resources, and procurement capabilities our business demands,” said Barbara Banks, Chief Information Officer, CHA. “Lawson’s public sector expertise will allow the CHA to dramatically increase its efficiency and effectiveness, leading to enhanced service.”


Lawson professional services and Blackwell Consulting will assist the CHA in its application of best practices to business processes and to implement procedures in a manner that will enable the Lawson technology to favorably impact the CHA’s business. Goals are to reduce the time currently necessary to complete administrative tasks and to provide the organization greater visibility into its operations. Lawson consultants also will train users on the efficient use of the functionality included in the new system.