TTS American Rescue Plan: Projects and Impact

Tasked by Congress in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Technology Transformation Services (TTS) is supporting government-wide citizen-facing services to help recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic for a more secure and effective public digital experience.

TTS has aligned initial ARP-related activities into three categories: recover, rebuild, and reimagine to focus on making the biggest impact.

Recover

Providing recovery support to the public in the wake of the pandemic. This includes

Investing in cloud adoption and reuse

  • Challenge: Agency demand for cloud services dramatically increased during the COVID-19 pandemic due to staff working remotely. This increased demand made authorizing cloud services by FedRAMP critical to helping both agencies and the public recover from the pandemic.
  • Opportunity/impact: FedRAMP is accelerating its review of new cloud service offerings to address the high demand of requests by agencies for new services and reuse of FedRAMP Authorized cloud offerings.
  • Status: In progress

Putting the user at the forefront of COVID rental relief

  • Challenge: State, local, and tribal governments have faced the challenge of building novel local-level infrastructures designed to provide rental assistance to tenants and landlords to avoid financial distress and evictions due to public health measures taken during the pandemic. Mitigation of housing instability during the pandemic is critical in the effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and support economic recovery from the national emergency.
  • Opportunity/impact: The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program and TTS focused on the needs of tenants and landlords to develop data-driven solutions to reduce the prevalence of complex application processes and help grantees create more impactful, accessible, and equitable ERA programs. Thus far, the team has published guidelines and tools for ERA Grantees, including the Program and Service Design, Guidelines for ERA program online applications and Eviction Diversion. The team will continue to develop resources to help ERA grantees simplify the delivery of assistance to tenants/landlords while supporting program integrity.
  • Status: In progress

Assisting families eligible for the Child Tax Credit

  • Challenge: The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 increased the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and expanded it to include monthly payments. Government and community outreach is critical to ensure eligible families know it is available.
  • Opportunity/impact: In collaboration with the White House and the Department of the Treasury, TTS helped deliver a CTC Navigator Training program that reached over 5,000 people in community groups or government agencies that work with and serve eligible families. As of September 2021, the Child Tax Credit is already reaching families of roughly 60 million children.
  • Status: Project completed September 2021

Modernizing the public search experience

  • Challenge: Search.gov is a shared service available across government that aims to simplify and empower the government website search experience for the public. Providing industry standard search experiences across government websites reduces friction as people interact with agencies for benefits and services.
  • Opportunity/impact: Improvements will help present a consistent and trustworthy interface to the public, improve results through additional filtering options, work with more websites and help agencies use analytics to improve the public experience.
  • Status: In progress

Improving access to housing counseling services and mortgage relief for FHA loan recipients at risk of losing their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Challenge: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recognized the need to update technology and call handling systems which made it difficult for people to access critical counseling, loan servicing, and local support services.
  • Opportunity/impact: Modernizing the Housing Counseling Locator website and Interactive Voice Response and integrating the National Servicing Center (NSC) and Housing Counselor operations with HUD’s modern CRM tool will enable a user-friendly experience that delivers timely and effective services to families at risk of losing their homes.
  • Status: In progress

Expand technology support to improve the public’s experience with government

  • Challenge: Executive Office of the President (EOP) staff have limited capacity to address service demand surges. EOP seeks to expand existing government-wide technology capabilities and services to implement accessible, user-centered experience programs. The EOP drives the development and implementation of the President’s domestic policy agenda in the White House and across the Federal government.
  • Opportunity/impact: EOP is partnering with the Presidential Innovation Fellows program to create a cross-disciplinary technology team to provide timely, effective, and equitable EOP service delivery across government
  • Status: In progress

Rebuild

Rebuilding existing government-wide citizen-facing services to yield a more secure and effective digital public experience with government.This includes

Verifying income for public benefits

  • Challenge: Income verification is key to the eligibility determination process for many public benefits programs, but it tends to be performed independently by each agency, and in different ways across states.
  • Opportunity/impact: This project explored how states and programs verify earned income to identify available data sources and seek opportunities where cross-agency services may be able to reduce costs and increase the accuracy and timeliness of determinations.
  • Status: Complete

Streamlining identity verification

  • Challenge: Government agencies rely on third party aggregators, like credit bureaus, for identity data validation. This leads to risks around data breaches, monetization of citizen personal information without consent, and duplicative costs when government ends up paying for its own data.
  • Opportunity/impact: The Identity Verification API is a privacy preserving shared service that enables identity verification with government authoritative sources, simplifying processes and saving the government money.
  • Status: In progress

Creating inclusive design patterns

  • Challenge: The U.S. Web Design System’s (USWDS) inclusive design patterns will make it easier to create accessible, mobile-friendly government websites for the diverse American public. USWDS identifies best practices for common digital service interactions and guides teams through the process of building with those practices using the design system.
  • Opportunity/impact: Building on the foundational principles of the USWDS, any digital team will be able to benefit from the guidance developed, regardless of resources. And, both government teams and the public will benefit from services designed with equity, inclusion, and accessibility in mind.
  • Status: In progress

Connect small businesses in need with resources to recover from the pandemic

  • Challenge: There is a gap in technical assistance to underrepresented community business owners across the United States. Many minority-owned businesses and mom and pops found themselves at the end of the line to access economic relief.
  • Opportunity/impact: The Small Business Administration (SBA) will leverage a community navigator model to reach businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. ARP funding will provide a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the Community Navigator Program to aid leadership and provide data analytics expertise to more effectively identify those businesses in greatest need and connect them to training, counseling, and resources.
  • Status: In progress

Increase outreach and access to health-saving resources

  • Challenge: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program, for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supports roughly 6.2 million women and children a month, including half of all infants born in the U.S. Yet only 57% of eligible WIC participants are enrolled, and participation has been declining. Participants include low-income women that are pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding, infants up to the infant’s first birthday and children up to the child’s fifth birthday that are at nutritional risk.
  • Opportunity/impact: To reach more eligible women and children and meet the Administration’s goals for the program, WIC is focusing efforts to modernize consumer communications and improve digital products and services. Part of this work will include detailing a Presidential Innovation Fellow to the WIC team to make resources more accessible to eligible recipients.
  • Status: In progress

Reimagine

Reimagining the delivery of digital services to improve transparency, security, and efficiency to bolster public confidence in government. This includes:

Make government services more equitable

  • Challenge: The ARP was designed with equity as a throughline, with the intent to address historically disparate outcomes across race, class, and geography that were further exacerbated by the pandemic. Federal programs are innovating and finding new ways to achieve these goals, and need support to measure whether these efforts are working as intended.
  • Opportunity/impact: Meeting this challenge requires rigorously testing and evaluating program changes to identify practices that are working and could be replicated. GSA’s evidence-building efforts have two core elements: First, GSA’s Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) will work with agencies to evaluate their ARP programs and resources and make recommendations to improve equity by increasing awareness, access, and allocation. Second, OES will conduct a multi-year national evaluation of a cross-section of priority ARP-funded programs.
  • Status: In progress

Reimagine USAGov as the front door to government

  • Challenge: Accessing government services shouldn’t require deep knowledge of the intricacies of the Executive Branch.
  • Opportunity/impact: USA.gov and USAGov en Español will expand on their existing services and experience to provide additional trusted, accessible access to government information and services, by centralizing government services in one place. USA.gov and USAGov en Español plan to work with agency partners to expand beyond providing information. This will enable the public to fully complete their task from start to finish on one site by better understanding all possibilities for a common customer experience.
  • Status: In progress

Increasing voter information and access

  • Challenge: Citizens seek critical information about voter registration and the voting process in the lead up to elections. Today, Vote.gov helps people understand how to register to vote in their state and be aware of important registration deadlines. The site offers this information in English and Spanish, while providing a simple, easy-to-use interface, and an easy-to-remember URL.
  • Opportunity/impact: The next steps for Vote.gov is to become the primary, trustworthy, and authoritative source for voter information. It will promote access to voting information and be a key resource to help break down barriers for voters of all backgrounds, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, national origin, and age.
  • Status: In progress

Locating child care services

  • Challenge: The COVID-19 crisis shined a spotlight on the challenges that working families face while trying to locate and pay for child care. Childcare.gov today provides information to parents about child care and finding subsidies. It links parents to state and territory websites for child care services available in their community.
  • Opportunity/impact: The U.S. Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Office of Child Care and TTS are partnering to improve the experience on Childcare.gov, as well as expand its possibilities through prioritizing functionality for families in their search and make the platform responsive to evolving needs.
  • Status: In progress

Bridging the gap to wifi access

  • Challenge: The COVID-19 pandemic further exposed the access gap to affordable wifi for low income and rural families.
  • Opportunity/impact: The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and TTS is piloting efforts to provide the public, secure, compliant, and affordable wifi hotspots to help address the digital divide.
  • Status: In progress

Building a talent pipeline for government technologists

  • Challenge: A big gap in the federal government’s journey towards digital success is a lack of early‑career technology talent. There is a need for entry‑level technologists to not only bring immediate innovation but also to serve as a continuing resource for government digital transformation.
  • Opportunity/impact: Launched in August 2021, the U.S. Digital Corps is bringing skilled, diverse, and mission-driven early-career technologists to the federal government. ARP funding will help the U.S. Digital Corps to scale to meet the workforce and implementation needs of the federal government by recruiting fellows for two-year stints with pathways to career service, with the first cohort of around 30 fellows beginning work at agencies in June 2022.
  • Status: In progress

Spurring innovation through 10x investments

  • Challenge: Since 2015, GSA’s 10x program has delivered innovative products and platforms for users in both the federal workforce and the general public, all inspired by ideas crowdsourced from federal employees.
  • Opportunity/impact: 10x will investigate and test new ideas, aligned with the TTS ARP’s priority focus areas, with the potential to transform government digital service delivery. Initial explorations include platforms for notifications, and investigation of problems related to climate change, reimagining public engagement, and equity in delivery.
  • Status: In progress

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Last Reviewed: 2022-06-29