October 07, 2019
Did you know that the Nevada Housing Division (NHD) has a website specially designed to help Nevadans find rentals throughout the state? Well we do, and it just got a makeover!
NVHousingSearch.org was born in September of 2014 to help Nevadans have better access to available rentals, while also giving owners a place to share their listings. Though there is definitely a rental shortage in the state, the site currently has more than 46,000 units represented and averages more than 200 searches per day. Since its launch, the website has hosted more than 297,000 searches.
“We originally created the site to help fulfill a state mandate that the Housing Division maintain a housing database, while fulfilling our fair housing mission,” explained Betsy Fadali, an NHD economist who oversees the program. “We needed a place where people could find all of the tax credit and subsidized properties available without a lot of extra searching.”
Emphasys Software built the site, along with 32 others throughout the country, and they recently decided it was time to start updating all of them. “We liked what they were planning, so we asked to have our makeover happen on the five-year anniversary of our original launch, which gave us two reasons to celebrate,” Betsy said. The makeover was a collaborative effort with the Housing Division choosing many of the design elements on the site.
The NHD and Emphasys teams invited users to the unveiling celebration on Thursday, Sept. 26, and included others virtually with a Facebook Live video.
A more accessible site
The improved website is more navigable for anyone using it, including people with disabilities using screen readers. Access to people with varying abilities has always been a core feature of the website and the latest update continues to improve that access. The site is especially geared to share accessibility features such as roll-in showers, accessible parking spots and wide doors, with three dozen fields that can collect and display relevant data. “The new site also allows us to collect information about accessible apartments and other details, so we can better serve our populations,” Betsy explained.
“We also wanted to make sure it was easy to navigate from a phone or tablet,” Betsy explained. “When we launched, the majority of our users were on a desktop, but that has flipped in the last several years.” NHD’s data shows that mobile usership has gone up from 43 percent in 2016 to 56 percent in 2019, while desktop usage has gone down from 51 percent to 36 percent in the same period.
The site comes with call center access to a translator bank to help people from different language groups. Additionally, users who do not have access to the internet can receive service through a toll-free call center, which has English- and Spanish-speaking representatives available. Prospective tenants and property managers who need assistance can call 1-877-428-8844 Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST.
“NVHousingSearch.org is a tremendous housing resource, which is critical in these times of diminished affordability and availability,” added NHD Administrator Steve Aichroth. “We’ve seen search activity and listings increase substantially, and the new look and functionality that was rolled out will help us continue to serve Nevadans many more years into the future.”
There is no charge for property managers and owners to list rentals, nor is there a charge for users to search. If you’re looking for a rental, visit www.NVHousingSearch.org, and let us know what you think!