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Pittsburgh Housing Opportunity Fund Policies and Procedures

March 16, 2018
April 5, 2018
CLOSED April 13, 2018 4 p.m. ET
HR&A Advisors, Inc.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (“URA”) is requesting proposals from housing, research and/or other professional consultants to draft a set of policies and procedures for a new Housing Opportunity Fund (“HOF”).

RFP Details


Contact Information

Jessica Smith Perry
Deputy Housing Director

Resources & Addendums

RFP Details

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (“URA”) is requesting proposals from housing, research and/or other professional consultants to draft a set of policies and procedures for a new Housing Opportunity Fund (“HOF”). The HOF is a housing trust fund that is being established in the City of Pittsburgh (“the City”). The goal of this RFP is to identify a firm and/or an interdisciplinary team to review the existing HOF enabling legislation (Attachment “A”),the May 2016 Affordable Housing Task Force Report (Attachment “B”), and conduct meetings with housing professionals, affordable housing advocates, government representatives and other stakeholders in order to create a well-informed set of policies and procedures for the administration of the HOF. The selected firm/team should also conduct research as to best practices related to the policies and procedures used by housing trust funds in other U.S. cities.

The project duration is estimated to be 6-8 weeks. Interested parties are requested to submit a detailed proposal package that clearly defines the relevant experience of the proposed staff, methods and strategy to carry out the project scope of work, as well as a fee proposal.

Contact Details

Contact person for all queries and for receipt of proposals:

Jessica Smith Perry, Deputy Housing Director

Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh

200 Ross Street,

10th floor Pittsburgh, PA 15219

(412) 255-6575

Respondents should contact Jessica Smith Perry with all questions regarding this RFP and selection process, including terms, conditions and technical specifications. Questions properly submitted via e-mail that are received by April 2, 2018 will be answered in writing and posted on the URA’s website by April 5, 2018. Questions submitted after April 2, 2018, or not properly submitted, will not be answered.


In 2016 (via City Council Ordinance No. 37), the City established a HOF to support the development and preservation of affordable and accessible housing within the City’s boundaries. Ordinance No. 37 authorized the creation of an Advisory Board to provide insight and recommendations as to the procedure and use of the HOF. Additionally, Ordinance No. 37 designates the board of directors of the URA as the governing board of the HOF and contemplates the URA as the HOF’s administrative entity. In December 2017, City Council authorized a separate resolution approving the terms of and authorizing the execution and delivery of a Cooperation Agreement with the URA. The Cooperation Agreement relates to the administration of the HOF established by City Council in 2016 and authorizes the assignment of $10,000,000 per year to the URA, for a period of twelve (12) years, commencing January 1, 2018, for the purpose of implementing the HOF.

The City will fund the HOF by raising the Home Rule Realty Transfer Tax by .5% (from 4% to 4.5%). This increase is anticipated to yield approximately $6,000,000 per year in revenue. The City will separately identify the additional funds to enable the HOF to receive $10,000,000 per year. In 2020, the Realty Transfer Tax will increase by another .5% (up to 5%). At that time, it is anticipated that the increase to the transfer tax will provide sufficient revenue to fund the HOF in the amount of $10,000,000 per year.

The HOF was created in 2016 (but unfunded at the time) as a direct result of work completed by the City’s Affordable Housing Task Force. In 2015 and 2016, the City commissioned an Affordable Housing Task Force (“Task Force”) to study the availability of and the need for affordable housing in the City and to make recommendations concerning how to create and preserve affordable housing in the future. The Task Force identified that there is a shortage of approximately 15,000 units available to households that earn less than 30% of the Area Median Income (“AMI”) in the City. Therefore, the Task Force recommended actions such as studying incentive zoning and inclusionary housing policies, creating an affordable housing database, creating a preservation housing policy, and creating a trust fund known as the HOF. The HOF will enable the City to fund development gaps for affordable rental and for-sale housing. It will also provide funding for homeownership training, down payment assistance, homeless prevention, and other needed forms of assistance. Attachment “A” describes, in depth, the eligible uses of the HOF and the required income levels of households that qualify. URA staff will work with a 17-member Advisory Board (to be appointed by the Mayor and approved by City Council) in accordance with the attached enabling HOF legislation (Attachment "A").

Project Description

The URA is seeking proposals from firms to draft policies and procedures for the HOF with up to two rounds of URA/City review and comment.

Scope of Services

• Review and synthesize HOF enabling legislation, funding legislation, and any other related statutes, policies and program parameters (including the income targets)

• Review the Affordable Housing Task Force Report dated May 2016, which discusses the stated goals and activities of the HOF

• Conduct meetings and document feedback with the HOF Advisory Board, City staff, URA staff, affordable housing advocates, and other stakeholders regarding their perception of the goals, activities and desired results of the HOF

• Research best practices related to policies and procedures used in similar housing trust funds in other U.S. cities 3

• Develop proposed policies and procedures related to:

o HOF governance, including but not limited to:

▪ The administration of the Advisory Board, including a recommendation as to term requirements for members

▪ Approval policies and procedures

▪ Roles and responsibilities of URA staff

o An Annual Allocation Plan (“AAP”) as described in the enabling legislation

o Recommendation of potential HOF programs and related guidelines which articulate program parameters. Examples of such parameters are:

▪ Income requirements

▪ Recommended loan and grant policies and procedures

o Rules and requirements regarding eligible borrowers/grantees including but not limited to:

▪ Homeowners

▪ Tenants

▪ Service providers

▪ For-profit developers

▪ Non-profit developers

o Request for Proposals (“RFP”)/Request for Qualifications (“RFQ”) procedures

o Conflict of Interest Provisions


The deliverable shall be a final document of proposed policies and procedures for the operation of the HOF in accordance with the above Scope of Services. All backup, supplemental, and supporting materials should also be delivered.

Organization and Required Submittals for Proposal

Submission Requirements and Deadline

One (1) electronic copy of the proposal in PDF format, VIA EMAIL ONLY, must be received by the URA no later than 4 p.m. ET on Friday, April 13, 2018. Paper copies will not be accepted. Proposals received after the deadline will not be accepted. Only complete proposals will be considered.

Submissions must be emailed to

Proposal Format and Content

The respondent must submit a proposal that includes a Technical Section and Fee Section.

1. Cover Letter

Limit to one page; letter should include:

• Company name, contact name, address, and email address

• Why the respondent’s team is the most qualified to complete this project

2. Respondent Team and Firm Information

Briefly describe the roles of the members included on the team. Please include the following for each firm:

• Name, address and telephone number

• Number and location of offices

• Managing principal, CEO or president 4

• Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) status

• Legal actions currently pending against firm

• Resumes for key staff members assigned to the project and their role on the team

3. Proposed Method and Schedule

• A detailed narrative of methods and plan to carry out the scope of work

• A list of sources and databases the respondent plans to use

• Project timeline with key milestones

• Description of respondent’s current work load and availability of staff to deliver this project on schedule

4. Relevant Projects and References

Limit three (3) projects, one page per project. Relevant projects should include at least one project that emphasizes housing policy and one project that addresses housing program structure and implementation. Including at least one project where a government agency was the client is highly encouraged.

Please include the following:

• Name and location of project

• Size and cost of project

• Name, address, email, and telephone number of the client contact

5. Fee Proposal

The fee proposal shall identify the derivation of the total fee by indicating:

• The level of effort in staff hours for various tasks and subtasks corresponding to the Scope of Services and the technical proposal

• The total salary cost for the services

• The direct costs projected, including subconsultant’s fees for various services

• Assumptions made in estimating time and costs

6. Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Participation

The URA has a long history of diversity and inclusion within all its programs and activities. The URA encourages the full participation of minority and women business owners and professionals in this effort. The URA requires that all respondents demonstrate a good faith effort to obtain minority and women-owned business enterprise participation in work performed in connection with URA projects. The URA acknowledges the City’s goal of 18 percent (18%) minority and 7 percent (7%) women participation in planning and/or professional services activities. Any questions about MWBE requirements should be directed to Diamonte Walker, MWBE program officer, at (412) 255-6610 or

Proposals must include a MWBE narrative. Respondents are required to state as succinctly as possible what, specifically, their firm is doing to promote opportunities for minority and women professionals within their organization.

MWBE participation can be satisfied by:

• Ownership/partnership of firm

• Use of minorities and/or women as part of consultant team

• Firm's use of minority or women-owned businesses as vendors for legal, printing, office supplies, travel, etc.

• Subcontracting with organizations in which minorities and/or women own more than 51% of the firm

o The names of the subcontracting organizations must be clearly identified in the proposal. Following the award of the contract, subcontractors cannot be changed without prior written consent from the URA.

Evaluation Criteria

All proposals will be evaluated based on the technical and professional expertise and the experience of the respondent’s team, the proposed method and the procedures for completion of the work, and the cost of the proposal.

Technical Expertise, Experience and Access

The technical expertise, experience and access of the respondent will be determined by the following factors:

• Overall experience of the respondent’s team

• Expertise and professional level of the individuals proposed to conduct the work

• Demonstration of accessibility to the URA and of responsiveness to community needs

• Demonstrable experience in working in underserved markets/communities

Procedures and Methods

Evaluation of procedures and methods will be determined by the following factors:

• Clarity and completeness of the proposal and the apparent general understanding of the work to be performed

• Proposed methods and plan to conduct the scope of work in a thorough, objective and timely manner

• Sequence and relationships between major tasks

• Knowledge and understanding of the local environment

• Approach to project management, including efficient utilization of person-hours Project Schedule

• Schedule for the completion of work

Fee Proposal

Describe proposed fee structure (e.g., hourly, fixed fee per item, etc.) and include proposed rates

MWBE Participation

The URA acknowledges the City’s goal of 18 percent (18%) minority and 7 percent (7%) women participation in planning and/or professional service activities. The URA requires that all respondents demonstrate a good faith effort to obtain minority and women-owned business enterprise participation. Any questions about MWBE requirements should be directed to Diamonte Walker, MWBE program officer, at (412) 255-6610 or


Responses to the RFP will be evaluated by a selection committee. The selected respondent(s) will be chosen based on the selection criteria listed above. The URA reserves the right to verify the accuracy of all information submitted.

One or more respondents may be asked to meet with the selection committee in a formal interview process.

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, to waive any submission requirements contained within this RFP, and to waive any irregularities in any submitted response.

A tentative schedule has been prepared for this selection process. The schedule is subject to change, however, the RFP due date will not be changed without notice on the URA’s website: (

Proposal Due Date: Friday, April 13, 2018 at 4 p.m. ET

Review of Responses Received: April 13-25, 2018

Interviews (if necessary): April 26 – May 2, 2018

Selected Firm is presented to URA Board: May 10, 2018

Anticipated Commencement of Work: May 18, 2018

Upon notification of selection, the successful respondent is required to enter into a contract within 4 weeks of notification. If the successful respondent is unwilling or unable to execute the agreement as required by the RFP, the URA has the right to request another respondent to enter into a contract with the URA.

Respondent acknowledges by submitting information and proposals to the URA that the URA does not undertake any obligations, and shall have no liability with respect to this RFP, and responses thereto, nor with respect to any matters related to any submission by a respondent.


Consideration is expected, but not guaranteed, to be given to the criteria listed in this RFP. The URA reserves the right to reject any and all proposals, to waive any and all informalities outlined in the RFP and in the selection process, and generally to make the award that, in its judgment, will best meet the objectives stated in this RFP.

Expenses incurred by a respondent in replying to the RFP or in making any appearance before the selection committee (if required) is at the respondent’s own expense and risk.

The URA reserves the right to make suggestions related to team structure during final contract negotiations.

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