First registered in 1985 to meet the housing and support needs of the Irish community, Innisfree Housing Association now owns and manages over 550 homes mainly across the London Boroughs of Brent, Camden and Haringey. Innisfree have used the Pyramid Housing Management System to manage their portfolio of properties for over two decades, to deliver high quality affordable homes to families, a scheme for Irish elders and supported housing for vulnerable single people.
Sean Cogan, Income Management Officer at Innisfree Housing Association said “At Innisfree, we have a strong background of supporting migrant people and are fully aware that everyone’s story is unique. This is something that can be clearly witnessed in how different the services required are from person to person.
Innisfree has continued to build on its original values, which is to deliver a personal service for residents, and provide a safe and welcoming environment that they can trust, to support integration with the wider community.
This ultimately led to Innisfree exploring the possibility of using a digital housing management solution that could address our integrated database requirements. Not to mention, allow staff to record and access accurate tenant information quickly, as well as compile up-to-date KPI reports.
As the association’s portfolio of homes grew, it highlighted difficulties around data entry and reporting, when using spreadsheets and paper-based records. The result was an increasing amount of time being spent performing administrative tasks rather than focusing efforts on what really mattered, our residents.
OmniLedger came recommended by another association, who were successfully running their business processes with Pyramid. We were pleasantly surprised to see that Pyramid addressed everything Innisfree required during OmniLedger’s onsite demonstration, specifically in areas of Rent Income, Arrears, Responsive Repairs, Compliance and Financial Accounting.
For an association of our size, Pyramid was the perfect solution. As soon as we decided to proceed with the implementation, OmniLedger’s fast track project management approach meant the system and training were delivered quickly and effectively.
This started with finance, shortly followed by the housing and maintenance elements. Any enquiries after the initial training were efficiently resolved by OmniLedger’s support team, enabling our staff to smoothly transition to using Pyramid day-to-day.
With data entry centralised, our housing officers can now obtain an up-to-date understanding of a resident’s situation more efficiently and provide tailored support as required. Areas that have particularly benefited from Pyramid’s centralised reporting tools include our tenancy data audits and the waiting list and allocations module.
Our housing officers are now able to pro-actively audit tenancy data and identify missing information, allowing us to reach out to residents that do not have a complete record or haven’t been visited in a while. The Grenfell fire only emphasised the importance of this practice, so that officials could be provided with accurate information during a crisis.
Prior to Pyramid, waiting list allocations used to be discussed as part of our regular team meetings, where staff collated the results of existing cases and allocated properties as a group. With Pyramid centralising all applicant data, we can now make decisions on allocations using our own points-based system and print off a single report that identifies those most in need, all at a click of a button. This approach has reduced the amount of time needed during these meetings, as well as providing process and structure to the way allocations are handled.
From inception, Pyramid has proven and achieved what it says on the tin, it’s a housing management system that centralises all our data in an integrated format, allowing the team to save time. We no longer need to record information in various places, making reporting a lot simpler and efficient.
Moving forwards, the association will continue to adapt and grow with change, expanding our services as modern times require. Our commitment to supporting migrant people remains as strong as ever. In June 2019, Innisfree along with Arhag Housing Association and the Praxis Community Projects drew up a three-point pledge to provide support for migrants; urging housing associations to join the 35 landlords who have already signed up to it.
With our housing officers continuously working to achieve a greater understanding of our residents through data collection, a portal has opened up for Innisfree to expand the generalised needs part of the association further in the future.”