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The eCon Plan Suite from a User’s Perspective. Midwest Regional Conference. August 14, 2013. Presented to:. Presented by:. Heidi Aggeler , Managing Director [email protected]

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Heidi Aggeler , Managing Director [email protected]

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The eCon Plan Suite from a User’s Perspective

Midwest Regional Conference

August 14, 2013

Presented to:

Presented by:

Heidi Aggeler,Managing Director

[email protected]

BBC Research & Consulting • 1999 Broadway, Suite 2200 • Denver, Colorado 80202-9750 • 303.321.2547 tel• 303.399.0448 fax •

Our Experience with the eCon Plan Suite

  • Completed first eCon Plan (Five-year Consolidated Plan and elements of the Action Plan) for the City and County of Denver (submitted to HUD January 15, 2013)

  • Completed first eCon Plan (Five-year Consolidated Plan) for the City of Lakewood (draft January 2013)

  • Assisted the City of Santa Fe with first eCon Plan submission (May 2013)

  • Assisted the State of Indiana with their 2013 Action Plan using the eCon Plan Suite (May 2013)

How does the eCon Plan Suite differ from the Standard Consolidated Plan?

  • Narrative is significantly reduced for some elements and enhanced for others. Format is often Q&A.

  • Increased opportunity to reference and use recently completed market studies and needs assessments (Denver Mayor’s Housing Task Force example)

  • For states, Method of Distribution (MOD) needs to be appended

  • Requires specific input from partners (e.g., public housing authorities, public facilities planning and management, economic development officials)

  • More direct description of public and stakeholder input. Upfront expectations about the organizations to be consulted in preparation of the Consolidated Plan.

How does the eCon Plan Suite differ from the Standard Consolidated Plan?

  • Greater importance placed on certain data: disproportionate need, homeless counts and surveys, assisted housing and homeless facilities.

  • Enhanced understanding of Census data may be required to complete the narrative (e.g., disproportionate need, economic development data).

  • More direct requirements for priorities, reasons for funding allocation decisions, goals and objectives, institutional delivery, anticipated resources.

Helpful Hints for Using the eCon Plan Suite

  • RECOMMENDATION NO. 1:Download an MS Word version of the Suite before you start inputting data.

  • Use the Word document to prepare the Action Plan or Consolidated Plan. Once complete, copy and paste the information into the eCon Plan Suite. Use the MS Word document you created for the draft comment period.

  • Why is this recommended?

    • There is a risk of losing data in the online version (your computer freezes, Suite freezes, wrinkles within the software).

    • Multiple people can work on the various screens and narrative at the same time (see Recommendation No. 2).

      May also want to consider development of internal documents (e.g., Excel workbook with input fields) to collect and analyze needed data.

Helpful Hints for Using the eCon Plan Suite

  • RECOMMENDATION NO. 2: Coordinate early with participating organizations/agencies.

  • From our (recent) experience, we think this could be the most challenging part of the eCon Plan! The data and information needed for the eCon Plan Suite may exceed what organizations/agencies have provided in the past.

  • To facilitate receiving what you need in a timely manner, we recommend you send the relevant fields to departments and agencies well in advance of your data input date.

  • We have had success sending blank versions of the eCon Plan MS Word download to departments and having them complete relevant tables and narrative directly into the Word document.

Helpful Hints for Using the eCon Plan Suite

  • RECOMMENDATION NO. 3: Respect the Suite’s data input preferences.

    • Save your work frequently due to the instability of the Suite.

    • The Suite doesn’t like anything other than a number in data fields (do not use “%” or decimal point).

    • If you have trouble copying text, try and try again. The Suite may ask to allow the data (choose “Yes”).

    • Don’t format the text before you copy and paste into the Suite, as this will change.

    • The narrative sections of the eCon Plan have character limits. Prepare your narrative sections accordingly by conveying information in the fewest words possible.

    • The MS Word download version may not contain all of the data elements that are required in the online version. Ensure that you also review the online sections when sending requests to organization/agencies, and include theonline pieces in those requests.

Helpful Hints for Using the eCon Plan Suite

  • RECOMMENDATION NO. 4: Frequently consult the eCon Plan Suite desk guide.

  • The guide is helpful, easy to understand and in many cases contains explanations of what is expected for the field (beyond what the description in the Suite suggests). Access the desk guide at:


Helpful Hints for Using the eCon Plan Suite

  • RECOMMENDATION NO. 5:If important, update data fields.

  • Because the Suite must accommodate a wide range of states and cities, the Census data used for many of the tables is that which is most commonly provided for all geographic levels. More recent information may be available for larger states and cities. You can access updated data from American Fact Finder at


Helpful Hints for Using the eCon Plan Suite

  • RECOMMENDATION NO. 6: Email your HUD representative when you “submit.”

    • Submitting is done by changing the status of the plan from “in progress” to “submit” on the Administrative screen AD-25.

    • Don’t assume that the Suite notifies your HUD representative that the plan has been submitted for review.

    • Make sure you provide scanned or original, signed copies of the SF-424 and certifications to your HUD representative and/or upload them into the Suite.

    • You will probably need to provide an electronic copy of the “Grantee Unique Appendices” (with MOD, scanned public comments) to HUD separately, as the Suite doesn’t always allow access.

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