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RFP

Legal Assistance Program - Tenants & Coordinated Entry

The main objective of the Housing Opportunity Fund (HOF) Legal Assistance Program – Tenants (LAP-T) is to provide legal services to tenants who are facing economic related housing issues. Eligible tenants must be at or below 50% of Pittsburgh’s Area Median Income and must reside in the City of Pittsburgh. The goal of the LAP-T is to prevent evictions and homelessness. The LAP-T is composed of four primary services:

1. Coordinated Entry, limited to:
- Eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators
- Implied warranty of habitability
- Security deposit returns

2. Mediation Services, limited to:
- Eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators
- Implied warranty of habitability
- Security deposit returns

3. Limited Legal Consultation, limited to:
- Eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators
- Implied warranty of habitability
- Security deposit returns

4. Full Legal Representation, limited to:
- Eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators

 

***NOTICE***

ALL INTERESTED APPLICANTS MUST REGISTER FOR AN ACCOUNT ON THE URA'S NEW ELECTRONIC BIDDING AND SOURCING SOFTWARE

For more information on how to register, please click here

All proposal responses must be submitted via Ion Wave Technologies. This RFP posting can be accessed on Ion Wave Technologies here: https://ura.ionwave.net/PublicDetail.aspx?bidID=5&ret=OPEN&pg=0&bidNumber=&title=&type=&org=

RFP Details

February 19, 2021
March 1, 2021 at 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm EST Registration is required. See link on the right side of page.
March 12, 2021 at 2:00 pm EST

INTRODUCTION

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) requests proposals from Program Administrators for its Housing Opportunity Fund (HOF) Legal Assistance Program – Tenants (LAP-T).  The LAP-T is composed of four primary services: Coordinated Entry, Mediation Services, Limited Legal Consultation, and Full Legal Representation.

BACKGROUND

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh administers the Pittsburgh Housing Opportunity Fund (HOF). HOF is a housing trust fund that has been established in the City of Pittsburgh (City) to support the development and preservation of affordable and accessible housing within the City’s boundaries. The HOF has allocated funding for seven programs to carry out this mission in 2021:

1. Rental Gap Program
2. For-Sale Development Program
3. Down Payment/Closing Cost Assistance Program
4. Homeowner Assistance Program
5. Housing Stabilization Program
6. Demonstration Dollars
7. Legal Help

Funds appropriated to the HOF are to be invested in accordance with an annual allocation plan (AAP) created by the Advisory Board and approved by City Council and the Governing Board. The URA Board of Directors serves as the Housing Opportunity Fund’s Governing Board.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVE

The purpose of LAP-T is to provide legal services to tenants who are facing economic related housing issues. Tenants must be at or below 50% of Pittsburgh’s Area Median Income level and must reside within the City of Pittsburgh. The primary goal of the LAP-T is to prevent evictions and homelessness. The LAP-T is composed of four primary services:

1. Coordinated Entry, limited to:
- Eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators
- Implied warranty of habitability
- Security deposit returns

2. Mediation Services, limited to:
- Eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators
- Implied warranty of habitability
- Security deposit returns

3. Limited Legal Consultation, limited to:
- Eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators
- Implied warranty of habitability
- Security deposit returns

4. Full Legal Representation, limited to:
- Eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators

 

PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR RESPONSIBILITIES

A summary of Program Administrator’s responsibilities is listed below.    

Coordinated Entry: The Coordinated Entry Program Administrator will be responsible for screening phone calls from tenants and homeowners* to determine the best level of service appropriate for the client’s needs as it pertains to one of following areas:

1. Eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators
2. Implied warranty of habitability
3. Security deposit returns

*Coordinated Entry will also be used to screen for the Legal Assistance Program – Homeowners (LAP-H)

Additionally, the Coordinated Entry Program Administrator will be responsible for entering in tenant and homeowner data in the appropriate URA database and tracker. Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Confirming residency in the City of Pittsburgh
- Confirming income eligibility (income must not exceed 50% AMI for tenants and 80% AMI for homeowners)
- Assessing the type and level of legal assistance needed
- Providing language interpretation services, and coordinating a translator if needed

The Coordinated Entry Program Administrator must demonstrate experience working with and understanding legal issues concerning low-income communities. The Program Administrator must have experience triaging legal assistance calls and have extensive knowledge of the different levels of legal assistance services.

If a client seeking legal assistance first contacts one of the legal Program Administrators contracted with LAP-T or LAP-H (before calling Coordinated Entry), the Program Administrator will be able to assist the household by entering a referral into the Coordinated Entry system. If a Program Administrator fails to enter a referral into the Coordinated Entry system, the Program Administrator may not be reimbursed for that service.

Mediation Services: Mediation Services Program Administrators will be responsible for facilitating, coordinating, and drafting the mediation agreement on behalf of the tenant. Mediation Services will be limited to the following housing issues:
1. Eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators
2. Implied warranty of habitability
3. Security deposit returns

Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Confirming program eligibility of the tenant
- Ensuring the settlement does not violate either party’s rights by providing education and information to both tenants and their landlords regarding their rights as it pertains to the issues in the mediation agreement. If a tenant requests a review by an attorney and the Program Administrator is unable to provide that review, the Program Administrator should then submit a referral for limited legal consultation to request a legal review of their mediation agreement, as the tenant has a right to a legal review by an attorney.
- Conducting public outreach for mediation services, ensuring services are advertised to diverse groups and communities in the City of Pittsburgh
- Educating and offering additional housing resources to tenants and their landlords, including providing referrals to the Housing Stabilization Program and other housing resources
- Providing services to the immigrant and refugee community

Limited Legal Consultation: Limited Legal Consultation Program Administrators will be responsible for providing professional or formal legal consultation regarding the following areas:
1. Eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators
2. Implied warranty of habitability
3. Security deposit returns

Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Confirming program eligibility of the tenant
- Operating a centralized hotline or point of contact to provide limited legal consultation provided by an attorney to tenants in the City of Pittsburgh
- Providing legal advice to the immigrant and refugee community within the City of Pittsburgh

Limited Legal Consultation services may be delivered over the phone, by email, in-person or virtually. The provider will determine the appropriate level of assistance based on the specific need and what method of limited legal consultation is the most appropriate response. This may include but is not limited to providing letters or formal opinion on housing-related issues, educating tenants on their housing and landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities, and informal or formal advice on how the tenant should proceed with their housing issue.

Full Legal Representation: Full Legal Representation Program Administrators will be responsible for providing one-time, full legal representation through the entirety of the legal proceedings (magistrate level and appeals) The legal assistance provider(s) will have discretion on determining program eligibility, according to the LAP-T guidelines. Eligible cases may include eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators.

Neither HOF nor the URA can commit to continued funding for any legal services provided through the LAP-T for more than twenty-four (24) months

Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Confirming program eligibility of the tenant
- Providing legal representation for tenants in court, as determined by the Program Administrator
- Has the ability to provide legal representation to the immigrant and refugee community

Depending on the complexity of the tenant’s legal case, the tenant may be able to access multiple legal services within the LAP-T as deemed necessary by the Legal Assistance Program Administrators.

QUALIFICATIONS

Program Administrators must have experience providing legal services related to eviction prevention and eviction proceedings to low-income households.

All Program Administrators are required to follow the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, 42 Pa.C.S.A. (1988), to the extent that they apply to the services to be provided hereunder.

PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR COMPENSATION

Program Administrators will be required to outline their proposed fee structure for the services they are applying for the Application Narrative. The fee structure must include all reasonable costs to operate the service(s) and should be presented as expected number of clients to be served. Proposed rates should include but not limited to personnel costs, administrative costs (proportionate to the service being delivered), program operations, and costs related to directly carrying out the services to residents.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Tenants receiving assistance under LAP-T must meet the requirements below:


A. Recipient Requirements:
- Each tenant must reside in the City of Pittsburgh.
- The annual gross household income of each tenant must be at or below 50% of the Pittsburgh Area Median Income (AMI) with adjustments made for family size. Pittsburgh Area Median Income is subject to HUD’s annual calculation of Area Median Income (AMI). For more information please visit https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il.html.
- Determination of the tenant’s annual income shall be based on current income projected from the date of application. Annual income should be based on the gross income from all sources before taxes or withholding from all household members who are not minors or full-time students. The tenant must show pay stubs issued within the last 30 days and employment verification. A self-certification of one’s income may also be accepted to verify the tenant’s income history if other documentation is unavailable.

B. Property Requirements:
- Each property must be a permanent structure used primarily for year-round residential use.
- Eligible properties must be located inside the City of Pittsburgh.
- Eligible properties must have no outstanding City, School District, and County real estate tax obligations and/or the owner must be on a payment plan.

C. Required and Eligible Uses of Funding for Tenants:
Tenants must be facing economic related housing issues and are experiencing legal issues pertaining to one of the following:
- Eviction resulting from non-payment of rent, or eviction related to other matters at the discretion of Program Administrators;
- Implied warranty of habitability; and
- Security deposit returns.
The four legal services outlined in the LAP-T will be available to eligible tenants to address the legal issues previously outlined.

FUNDING TERMS, LIMITS, & OTHER RESTRICTIONS

A. Funding Type

This funding will be awarded to Program Administrators as a grant on a reimbursement basis.

B. Funding Limits and Other Requirements

There is $800,000 available for this program in the 2021 HOF allocation year. The LAP-T will be sourced by local Housing Opportunity Funds, CDBG and/or other funding received by the URA which may include local, state, federal or foundation funds. Future or annual funding is not guaranteed.

C. Payments and Procedures

Program Administrators must request payments on the proper URA form for a specified dollar amount. The payment request must include information about the client assisted and any additional information requested by the URA. The URA will only reimburse for approved costs incurred.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

All application submissions are to include a completed LAP-T Application Narrative.


The Application Narrative includes the following sections:


1. Eligibility Checklist and Confirmation of Services Provided
2. Organization Information
3. Total Funding Request
4. Organization Experience and Staff Qualifications
5. Approach to Providing Services
6. Minority and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Narrative
7. References
8. Additional information (optional)
All sections of the Application Narrative must be completed to the best of the applicant’s ability to be considered a complete application.

All submissions must be electronically submitted via the URA's new bidding service. To learn more on how to register and submit a proposal, click here

PROPOSAL DEADLINES & OTHER SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

RFP Issue Date: Friday, February 19, 2021

Pre-Proposal Meeting (Optional): March 1, 2021 at 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm EST

Proposal Deadline Monday, March 5, 2021 at 2:00 pm EST

URA Board Approval Thursday, March 11, 2021

 *Dates subject to change  

Important Bid Notification Announcement
Effective January 6, 2021, all interested parties can submit Requests for Proposals, Requests for Qualifications, and bidding opportunities through the following link, which is located on the URA Proposals & Bids page: https://ura.ionwave.net/Login.aspx.

The URA is now using Ion Wave Technologies (IWT) as its bid notification and RFP Question and
Answer (Q&A) platform. In addition to following the Submission Requirements, respondents must also register at https://ionwave.net/suppliers/ in order to submit questions about this RFP.

To register on Ion Wave Technologies, please review the instructions here.

REVIEW OF PROPOSALS & SELECTION CRITERIA

Review of Proposals
• URA staff will check responses against mandatory criteria. Responses not meeting all the mandatory criteria will not be considered for review.


• Formal interviews of applicants may be scheduled at the discretion of URA staff.


• During the evaluation process, the URA reserves the right to request additional information or clarifications from the applicants, or to allow corrections of errors or omissions.


• URA staff may recommend an applicant or applicants to the HOF Advisory Board and URA Board of Directors, respectively, based upon the responses to this RFP.

Selection Criteria
• Experience – The applicant’s experience in providing legal services similar to what is being requested in the RFP.


• Quality of Submission – The quality of the submission and the degree to which it demonstrates the team members’ full understanding of their ability to perform the services to be rendered; the content of the response should demonstrate the applicant’s full understanding of the objectives.


• MWBE Participation – The applicant’s MWBE narrative should indicate whether the applicant is an MWBE and include an overview of the applicant’s strategy toward MWBE participation, in general.

LEGAL INFORMATION

The URA reserves the right to verify the accuracy of all information submitted. The URA shall be the sole judge as to which respondent(s) meet the selection criteria. The URA reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to reject any or all responses received, and to waive any submission requirements contained within this RFP.

By responding to this RFP, proposers acknowledge that the URA has no liability to any individual or entity related to this RFP or any proposal and/or the URA’s use or nonuse of any such proposal.

This form is submitted subject to errors, omissions, and/or withdrawal without notice by the URA at any time.

All responses, including attachments, supplementary materials, addenda, etc. shall become the property of the URA and will not be returned.

Respondents and team members must disclose any conflict of interest, or potential conflict of interest, with regards to any employee or staff of the URA or the City of Pittsburgh, and/or any work performed by the respondent for the URA, the City of Pittsburgh, or any related entity.

NON-DISCRIMINATION CERTIFICATION

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh abides by all applicable laws and regulations regarding nondiscrimination and refrains from discriminating on the basis of age, race, color, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, political or union affiliation, and/or disability. No person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination solely based on any of the above factors under the loan and grant programs operated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh.

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