Head-to-Head FormAssembly Templates

The Homekeeper FormAssembly application templates have changed little since we built them 9 years ago. Building and configuring the forms for the first 24 housing orgs taught us that even a really great form tool like FormAssembly couldn’t handle the application complexity or provide the user experience affordable housing applicants required. Affordable housing needed an application system built to spec. We tapered off our consulting work, dove into loans and set to work on Public House. 

What are we comparing?

Let’s refer to the templates built on the FormAssembly platform as The V1 Application Templates to avoid unfairly criticizing FormAssemebly for the shortcomings of a form built on their platform. Upfront, we have loved and admired FormAssembly for ages and continue to recommend them as a great form builder that integrates well with Salesforce.

Public House is a highly specialized affordable housing application – not an all-purpose form building utility.

Today, the functionality provided by the V1 Application Templates only accounts for about 15% of the Public House features set. The additional 85% is custom functionality built on Salesforce, cloud-based web interfaces, emails/SMS communication templates, upload templates, reports and dashboards.

Today, the functionality provided by the V1 Application Templates only accounts for about 15% of the Public House features set.

Applicant Experience Comparison

What we can compare is the application user interfaces. Here are some of the Public House features that you will not find in the V1 Application Templates.

Access

  • Application URL: application.YourOrganization.org
  • Client-branded login page
  • Secure email and SMS authentication
  • Recovery access tools
  • Applicants and Co-applicant access
  • Ability to partially complete and return at any time
  • Staff works in the same interface but has additional capabilities and information

Interface

  • Elegant user interface and dashboard view
  • Broken into simpler subforms
  • Step-through guide
  • Ability to log a help request
  • Colored system of icons directing applicants to incomplete sections, upload requirements and questions
  • Household and individual totals for assets, debts and income
  • Unrestricted addition of household members, assets, debts and income sources
  • Ability to edit or remove a household member, asset, debt or income source
  • Check that any new email is unique
  • Verification of email ownership
  • Verification of phone number ownership
  • Request for Co-applicant consent via email
  • Live warnings to inform applicants, as they are in the application, of potential issues with compliance of program requirements.

Document Management

Document management is the most important part of the applications. The V1 Application Templates do not have document management features. Public House has invested heavily in the security and reliability of application supporting documents. In 2022, applicants using Public House uploaded 300k documents. Our systems are secure, vetted by over 10,000 applicants.

The Future

Public House is dedicated to improving affordable housing by supporting housing organizations with better tech. We reduce the organizational resources that application management requires, housing orgs create more houing opportunties. We work tightly with our community to innovate and automate.