Special Achievement: COVID-19 Response

This subcategory recognizes new programs and practices developed specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as emergency renter and homeowner assistance or agency remote work measures. COVID-19 responses that reflect revisions or expansions of preexisting efforts are encouraged in any other Awards category.

Note: Individual developments are not eligible for an award.

Judging Criteria

Special Achievement entries will be judged on the degree to which they:

  • Are innovative
  • Respond to an important state need
  • Achieve intended results
  • Provide benefits that outweigh costs

If you have questions, please email awards@ncsha.org or call 202-624-7710.

2020 Winner

Delaware State Housing Authority

Oregon Housing and Community Services

2020 Entries

Arizona Department of Housing:
Channeling Dollars, Services, and Supplies to Support Homeless Service Providers

The Arizona Department of Housing channeled dollars, services and supplies to support programs serving homeless populations in Arizona amid the COVID-19 pandemic through the distribution of $5 million for in-kind supplies and grants to over 80 homeless service providers. The resources provided direct and timely relief to help maintain the health and safety needs of the providers and their clients, so the providers could focus on moving those who are experiencing homelessness into housing.

Colorado Housing and Finance Authority:
COVID-19 Ready

It’s often said that the best defense is a good offense. This defines Colorado Housing and Finance Authority’s (CHFA's) COVID-19 experience. The organization’s efforts to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic began years prior to the first case being reported in Colorado. CHFA’s success navigating the pandemic’s uncharted path stemmed from a long-standing commitment to mission and strengthening business continuity through technology, operational efficiency, and culture.

Delaware State Housing Authority:
Providing Rental Assistance During & After a Global Pandemic

On March 13, Delaware Governor John Carney called for the closure of all non-essential businesses to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As a result, thousands of Delawareans were suddenly without a paycheck or had their income significantly reduced. Many of them still needed to pay their rent and utility bills, and to help those renters, DSHA launched a rental assistance program on March 26. DSHA was the first HFA in the country to launch a rental assistance program for its state’s residents.

Georgia Department of Community Affairs/Georgia Housing and Finance Authority:
We Are In This Together: A Collective Response to COVID-19

State governments inherently operate in a silo and generally with limited resources. To assist more Georgians, the Resource Committee is leveraging each key partner agencies existing relationships, capabilities and resources for a continued and integrated, immediate response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Several key innovative approaches have consisted of thinking outside the box.

Idaho Housing and Finance Association:
Idaho Housing Provides Safety Net to Idaho's Homeless and Renters

IHFA launched the Housing Preservation Program to provide short-term rent and utility support for Idahoans experiencing financial hardship because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The program, which is available to renters only, was launched in April with an initial investment of $250,000. It received a significant financial boost from the State of Idaho, which allocated up to $15 million of the state’s CARES Act funding for the program.

Illinois Housing Development Authority:
Hope for the Future

While the CARES Act was an important first step in abating the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, too many households still face an uncertain future. To support those hit hardest by the crisis, IHDA teamed up with housing providers, advocates and elected officials to quickly and aggressively garner funding and support for two critical emergency assistance programs. By the end of 2020, the effort will have disbursed $300 million in assistance to at least 40,000 households across the state.

Iowa Finance Authority:
COVID-19 Iowa Eviction & Foreclosure Prevention Program

The Iowa Finance Authority leveraged partnerships and innovative technology to build the COVID-19 Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program from the ground up in a matter of weeks. The program was available for Iowans at risk of eviction or foreclosure upon the expiration the state's eviction and foreclosure moratorium and is projected to help tens of thousands of Iowans who have been economically impacted by COVID-19.

Kentucky Housing Corporation:
KHC's Response to COVID-19

In March 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) became a new reality throughout the United States. In response to concerns related to this pandemic, Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) created a steady stream of communication, reminding people that we are still here, still willing to help, and completely transparent. As a result, KHC has been able to stay connected and engaged even though our employees and partners are spread throughout the Commonwealth.

We Can't Go Back: MaineHousing's COVID-19 Response Efforts

COVID-19 highlighted and exacerbated Maine’s housing challenges. MaineHousing’s innovative spirit and our quick ability to develop and mobilize programs helped Maine avert far more devastating COVID-19 consequences. Our new programs include our COVID-19 Rent Relief Fund and a package of programs designed to help Mainers who are homeless.

Minnesota Housing:
PBCA Process Remodel

The Housing Management Officer Project Based Contract Administration (HMO PBCA) team implemented a remodel project to address management and occupancy review (MOR) requirements and how those requirements were being met. The remodel work aimed to include process improvement with supporting technology. The project was needed in order to review and update the previous paper heavy processes that were inefficient, confusing, and time consuming for both agency staff and customers.

New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency:
Foreclosure Mediation Assistance Program COVID-19 Expansion

On March 19, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency expanded the Foreclosure Mediation Assistance Program (FMAP) to include renter and pre-foreclosure counseling to address hardships caused by COVID-19.

New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority:
Staying Connected

When MFA was given less than 24 hours to send the majority of staff home to work, the organization had to ramp up quickly to expand the existing small telecommuting program. Then the question became: How do we keep staff engaged to their work and each other while we're physically separated? The strategies MFA employed allowed employees to connect in a very meaningful way and kept the work process flowing smoothly.

Oregon Housing and Community Services:
COVID-19 Three Lessons in Organizational Resilience from Oregon

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) launched an innovative agency-wide approach to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic by quickly re-deploying existing resources to address urgent needs, thoughtfully designing programs to make the most impact with federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds, and leading legislative advocacy that secured new state and federal resources for housing stabilization and homelessness programs.

Rhode Island Housing:
Going L.E.A.N. To Innovate During a Pandemic

A global pandemic and the challenges it would create, compelled RIHousing to develop an award-worthy effort to develop creative ways to administer our programs and serve residents. From a comprehensive communications and outreach campaign, to the development of new policies and protocols for conducting MORs, this HFA has been able to overcome the obstacles created by the pandemic while meeting the growing needs of Rhode Islanders.

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority:
WHEDA COVID-19 Response

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) started its adjusted operations model due to COVID-19 on March 16, 2020. In response to the pandemic, the Authority established new communications, policies, and procedures to assist its employees, homebuyers, renters, affordable housing providers, partners, and other constituents throughout the COVID-19 crisis.