New York City
In an attempt to improve customer service, crowding and waiting time, the New York City (NYC) Human Resources Administration (HRA) implemented one pilot project in each borough where by job centers are collocated with non-public assistance (NPA) food stamp offices. Each of these “model centers” were developed to streamline the agency’s points of applicant/recipient contact by redesigning how it utilizes systems, space, security, processes, and personnel. In other words, HRA made changes in workflow rather than in policy and procedures. The model centers perform the same tasks they did before “going model”; however, by changing the way applicants/recipients are routed and the work is distributed, the project seeks to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of existing public assistance, food stamps and employment programs.
The model centers have a main reception counter where all applicants/recipients are “triaged” and sent to the appropriate service areas. When they arrive in the proper area, applicants/recipients are called by their ticket number that flashes on a display screen, thus eliminating the practice of standing on line. The centers have customer service and information centers that handle all unscheduled recipient activity such as change reporting and document drop-off. They use innovative technological designs such as “FRED,” a system that routes applicants/recipients from the Main Reception desk, and “MONIQ,” a system that tracks applicant/recipient progress through the center and records wait and activity times. Electronic information kiosks are also available in the food stamp reception area to provide information about food stamp calculations, jobs, benefits and childcare. The kiosks also print out forms and informational materials and will soon be able to print the short-form NPA food stamps application. Finally, the centers also house employment and training vendors on-site, essentially putting “jobs” into the “job center” so applicants/recipients can begin employment preparation right away which reduces the likelihood of missed employment appointments.
The pilot project, the Model Job Center/NPA Food Stamp Office, was implemented in 2004 and 2005. It was a collaborative effort among HRA’s Management Information Systems, General Support Services, Office of Policy, Procedures and Training, and the Family Independence Agency.
Additional resources were required for the project for renovating space, buying technical equipment, filling staff vacancies, adding security staff and providing training.
Client surveys indicate that applicants/recipients are increasingly more satisfied with their experiences at the center and waiting times have decreased.
SUGGESTION: From the beginning of the design process include employees who will work in the centers.
For more information, contact:
Executive Deputy Commissioner
Family Independence Administration, HRA
180 Water Street, room 2520
New York, NY 10038