State of the Web at HUD
Where We Are
HUD's Homes and Communities Internet Site
- Visitors to HUD's Internet web site doubled in the past year, to nearly 600,000 each month. And they're coming back - monthly visits run 1.5 million. The most popular sections continue to be "HUD Homes for Sale" (400,000 visits each month) and our "Homebuyers Kit" (100,000 visits monthly).
- More and more of HUD's work is being done online. FHA Connection records 196,000 transactions each day. 28,800 physical inspection reports were submitted to REAC via the web; and 3,200 housing agencies used the online PIH Information Center (PIC) to submit and review inventory data, since it opened in December 1999.
- Webcasts have caught on like wildfire. 11,000 visitors viewed one or more of our 120 hours of webcasts in the past year. All of the SuperNOFA webcasts are available both in English and Spanish. 500 webcast users have subscribed to our mailing list. Last fall, the Department received a Hammer Award for our innovative use of webcasting.
- HUD's web site continues to be recognized as one of the best in the federal government. The Intergovernmental Advisory Board and GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy, in its report on Governments Using Technology to Serve the Citizen, called HUD's web site, "wonderful...an excellent example of how to exploit the web to better serve citizens."
- HUD staff visits to HUDweb - our web site for employees only - remain high: 550,000 each month. The site is updated daily; and the front page changes every week to keep staff informed of important events and information.
- HUD staff are doing more work online. 48 processes and systems are available through HUDweb, to help staff do their jobs. Staff can look up phone numbers, schedule kiosks and traveling exhibits, get REAC physical inspection reports, view PHA plans, track and report progress on Business and Operating Plans, check leave and pay records, select and order business cards, find and complete forms, and more. Work online has saved the Department thousands of dollars and improved staff efficiency.
- HUD is recognized as a leader in federal Intranets. Government Computer News featured HUD as an example of how agencies use Intranets to "hike productivity," and Washington Technology Online showcased HUD in an article on progressive use of federal Intranets.
HUD Next Door Kiosks
- HUD has 77 kiosks installed in 45 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. By year's end, we plan to have kiosks in all 50 states and all major metropolitan areas.
- The kiosks continue to accomplish our goal to reach citizens who normally wouldn't turn to HUD for help. In interviews with 50 kiosk users, 86% said they used the kiosk "because it was there;" and - more important - 54% of those interviewed said they would use the information they got from the kiosks, either immediately or in the future.
- The HUD Next Door Kiosks are a semi-finalist for Harvard's 2000 Innovation In American Government Awards. In recent months, they've been recognized by the E-Gov Consortium with their "Pioneer Award" and by the Center of Excellence for Information Technology (CEIT) with their "2000 Award."
HUD Answer Machines
- HUD is helping to bridge the "digital divide" by giving free access to the HUD web site, from the HUD Answer Machines located in every HUD office. An average of 1,500 citizens use our HUD Answer Machines each month.
Marketing and Outreach
- Literally thousands of Americans saw one of HUD's 5 traveling kiosks at 220 events around the country this past year. HUD staff took the kiosks to homebuyer fairs, industry meetings, home and garden shows, state fairs, and Senior Expos. The traveling kiosks display both kiosk content and the HUD home page.
- Community Builders, Web Managers, and other HUD staff have distributed 50,000 brochures telling people about HUD's web-based information products. HUD staff received brochures reminding them of all they can do via HUDweb.
- In 30 focus groups around the country, we listened to citizens, business partners, and HUD staff offer suggestions for ways we can improve our web sites.
- Web Managers trained HUD staff to use our web sites through demonstrations, web drop-in days, and our annual Web Day at HUD.
- In the past few months, Access America Online, published by the Vice President's National Partnership in Reinventing Government, featured 5 articles highlighting HUD's web site; and Government Executive Magazine did a story on web marketing efforts, focusing on HUD.
Other Web Management Work
- HUD continues to manage the U.S. State and Local Government Gateway; and we participate in planning and populating the growing number of customer-focused interagency web sites, including Afterschool.gov, Consumer.gov, and the U.S. Non-Profit Gateway.
- The more than 100 Web Managers throughout HUD handle an estimated 20,000 e-mail messages from citizens and business partners, each month. Clearly, the Internet is becoming a popular way to communicate with the government.
Where We're Going
The vision: Within the next few years, we want HUD to accomplish
all aspects of its mission and provide information, services, work
processes, communication, and collaborative opportunities through
a combination of HUD's own web sites (internet and intranet) and
the web sites of the partners we fund, truly creating "electronic
Achieving that vision requires commitment and cooperation among everyone at HUD:
- Managers need to streamline and automate work processes, making them available via the web;
- Program staff need to craft a full array of easy-to-use information for citizens, for business partners, and for HUD staff;
- Field staff need to educate citizens and our partners so they'll know how to use our web site;
- Administrative staff need to ensure that technology is adequate to support the objectives of electronic government; and
- All employees need to use the web to do work and interact with HUD's audiences, to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
The Web Managers throughout the Department provide leadership in achieving our vision by:
- Creating and managing the content of HUD's web sites, including the kiosks;
- Acting as catalysts and management consultants to encourage new ideas for using the web;
- Marketing HUD's web products; and
- Working with HUD's partners and with other federal agencies to develop web sites that serve the public.
New Web Team Initiatives
Web clinics for HUD partners: HUD's Departmental Web
Team is conducting free, one-day Web Clinics for HUD Partners
throughout the country. Their purpose is to help partner organizations
create web sites that deliver the services we fund. We want
to form a whole network of web sites, with HUD's web page as
the hub, to provide information and services to citizens -
truly "electronic government." We planned to do 10 clinics as
a pilot. But business is growing! The Maryland Association of
Housing and Redevelopment Authorities (MAHRA) has invited us
to do a Clinic as part of their spring meeting.
In the first four Web Clinics, we've trained 90 representatives from 31 non-profit organizations, 28 housing agencies and organizations, and 10 state and local governments. The reaction has been enthusiastic:
- "Please, please, please - these beginning website lessons are going to be a huge hit; start planning now for the follow-up intermediate and advanced courses." - Jenny Martin Kuykendoll, City of Richmond, CA
- "You pulled the curtain away from Oz and made the web and website design much easier." - Jonathan Saint, Maricopa County Housing Department
- "This information is so powerful!" - Debbie Weaver, Chandler Village Apartments
Intranet roundtable: HUD is leading the way in the enhancement
of federal Intranets by forming an Intranet Roundtable. Begun
as a quest for new ideas that could be replicated on HUDweb,
we quickly identified a need among federal agencies for a way
to share successes and discuss problems. Roundtable members
from 14 federal agencies meet regularly to showcase their Intranet
innovations and to ponder issues and future directions. We remain
on the lookout for ways to use HUDweb to work smarter, faster,
- Public education webcasts: With the growing interest
in video on the web and a healthy respect for that old adage that
"a picture is worth a thousand words," the Web Team is working
with the HUD Training Academy and the Office of Housing to produce
our first video specifically created for the web, a short educational
piece on how to buy a home. Web videos offer great opportunities
to teach citizens a variety of skills, such as how to organize
their neighborhoods, how to make their homes more healthy, and
how to find affordable housing.
- Kiosk partnerships: Soon, HUD will have more than 100 kiosks placed
around the country. But to really make HUD's kiosks serve citizens,
we want to explore creating partnerships with state and local
governments, consolidating basic housing information from all
levels of government in one easy-to-use place. In the coming months,
we will explore these possibilities.
- Improved web management: Managing HUD's web products
has become a major workload item in the Department. A new Deputy
Secretary's Task Force on Web Management will develop a strategy
for ensuring that HUD can achieve the President's mandate for
"electronic government," using the web.
The news is good. The potential is limitless. The bandwagon is rolling, and nearly everyone at HUD is onboard. We're good now - and with some ingenuity, commitment, and creative use of resources, we'll get better.
Content Archived: March 2, 2011