Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority

Providing Funding for Those in Need With a Salesforce Cloud Platform

State agencies like the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) do more than just allocate funds and promote initiatives. IHCDA provides safety and security within the state’s communities by offering assistance and support to residents around an essential need: a place to live. 

The IHCDA was one of many government organizations that primarily engaged with its constituents through face-to-face interactions. But with the arrival of COVID-19, this was no longer an option. The agency realized that leveraging Salesforce could be the new approach it needed to adapt in a new world.


In the first two years of the pandemic, the IHCDA received hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency rental assistance (ERA) funding through the CARES Act to help combat the pandemic’s economic impact. But that funding required specific benchmarks for its use, and the IHCDA did not have the technical infrastructure to support the new volume of vulnerable renters and landlords. 

As Annette Richard, IT Director at IHCDA, put it, “We couldn’t just build a replica of our old system. We had to build a system that would streamline the review and approval process, shortening the number of days from application to payment.”

The answer was in the cloud.


Studio Science worked hand-in-hand with IHCDA to re-platform its rental assistance system on the FedRAMP-authorized Salesforce Government Cloud+ platform. This delivered typical grants management capabilities with the speed, clarity, and security required of a PII-heavy, emergency response scenario in both English and Spanish. 

One key way the team helped IHCDA’s process to better scale was through self-service digital intake forms. Whereas the old method required manual efforts using spreadsheets, residents eligible for funding could now create a profile on their own by completing a series of dynamic fields that captured basic information such as name, address, income, monthly rent, documents like lease agreements or pay stubs, and more. This has helped the team focus more time and energy on the work that is truly mission-critical.

Once a resident submitted their IERA application, the team could review the request, tag subject matter experts on specific questions, and issue funds against eligibility calculations generated by the platform’s OmniScript capabilities. If the resident was already approved for a program like SNAP or HIP, the household would meet the income eligibility criteria with no additional documentation required.

With such an influx in applications and funds, visibility and accuracy were vital. Studio Science worked with IHCDA to create integrated reports and dashboards so the team could report on overall status, demographic information, and more in real time. OmniScripts could be updated with a few clicks – rather than re-writing lines of code – making the platform as agile as the pandemic demanded. 

Also vital when it came to data was the ability to detect fraudulent activity. For example, the system easily flagged someone submitting an application for more than one address or submitted from an outside state, ensuring the funds only made it into the hands of those who truly needed it. 

All of these capabilities were available via desktop or mobile, giving people the same functionality from the field or working from home as they had come to expect from the traditional, pre-COVID office environment.


The Studio Science team completed the re-platforming and pushed it live over the course of just five months. IHCDA’s new system reduced its temporary staffing needs by 150 seats, consolidated scripts from 11 to five, and brought multiple, disparate systems – which required importing data manually via spreadsheets – together into one platform.

Most importantly, “this strategy has empowered us to run a more efficient program,” Richard said. “The more efficient we can make this program, the more money that goes back to the people who need it. And with a program this large, it means we are truly making an impact.”