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The HUD Answer Machines are working out very well and are being received enthusiastically by the public. It is truly achieving the goals of bringing Government services to the people in their neighborhoods in a friendly and non-intimidating environment.
- Summit Research Associates.

I recently retired from DOE after 40 years in the Federal government. This [HUD Answer Machine] is a great service. It is indicative of the compassion and the great social contribution your employees are making to make this a better country for all of us. Thank you
-- Charles

HUD Answer Machines Empower
Citizens Via the Internet

May 26, 1999

By Joanne L. Johnson and Samuel R. Gallagher

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is working hard to use technology to empower the public. One part of this effort is the HUD Answer Machine, a simple, easy-to-use way for visitors to HUDís local offices to access the vast array of information and services on HUDís internet home page.

Basically, the HUD Answer Machineóa desktop computerógives free access to the internet and HUDís home page to anyone who visits one of HUDís 81 offices. Itís all part of Secretary Cuomoís Management Reform efforts,

Visitors can use the Answer Machine to:

  • Learn how to buy a home;
  • See maps showing HUD activity in every community;
  • Find business opportunities;
  • File a housing discrimination complaint;
  • Get consumer information;
  • Print listings of HUD homes for sale, in every state; and
  • Access HUD forms and official handbooks.

HUD staff are available to help visitors use the Answer Machines, if they arenít familiar with computers. Since June 1998, more than 9,000 people have used a HUD Answer Machine.

Any federal agency can replicate the Answer Machine. The HUD Answer Machine is a desktop computer with a large monitor, a browser connected to the internet, and a piece of software that blocks inappropriate sites. To make visitors more comfortable with this resource, HUD designed a "frame" that surrounds the monitor, giving it a more friendly appearance and clearly linking it to HUDís homes and communities page.

About the Authors

Joanne L. Johnson and Samuel R. Gallagher are Deputy Web Managers at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C. You may reach them at (202) 708-1547 or or