NY State Homeowners Assistance Fund

What would human-centered design at its best be for a crisis management effort that is truly inclusive?

It is easy to say but hard to do — here’s what it takes:

  • Simple means easy to understand, intuitive
  • Plain language
  • Short and direct
  • More explanation available if you need it
  • Clear orientation: where I am in the process, what’s next
  • Consistent visual cues

Accessible means meeting users where they are:

  • 10 languages
  • Multiple platforms: digital + analog + call center
  • Cater to different abilities

Effective means reduced dropouts and rejections:

  • Where is the applicant in the process
  • What to expect
  • How to prepare
  • Help along the way

That was our mission when we partnered with Arbola, to serve the initiative driven by New York State Homes and Community Renewal and Sustainable Neighborhoods, to marry both design and technology, and put their constituents first through Citizen Experience Design. This first-in-the-Nation $539 Million Homeowner Assistance Fund was developed to Assist Eligible New Yorkers at Risk of Foreclosure or Displacement precipitated by the pandemic.


By March 2022, the portal accepted 30,782 submissions. Mainly for 1-4 Family Homes. 93% of the applicants reported an annual income between 20-30K. These numbers give us a sense of the importance of this program in managing the impact that COVID has had on home ownership.

The feedback so far is very positive and enthusiastic. It has been recognized by leading NYS officials and representatives as one of the best-designed state programs.

Find out more at: nyhomeownerfund.org