Oakland Employer Assisted Housing Program Request for Proposals: Consultant Services INTRODUCTION Oakland is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, PA with a diverse residential population and a high concentration of eds/meds anchor institutions. Learn more about Oakland here. Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (OPDC) recently collaborated with the Oakland community to complete The Oakland 2025 Master Plan: A vision for sustainable living and mobility, through which we engaged over 500 community members and stakeholders. Oakland 2025’s goal is to guide and support Oakland’s continuing growth as the region’s center of innovation and technology and support the quality of life in Oakland four major residential neighborhoods. For Oakland to thrive as a desirable place to live and work, transportation and housing must be developed in a carefully coordinated manner. Oakland’s economic engine must translate into better connectivity and improved neighborhood livability. One of the highest priority goals in Oakland 2025 is to raise the median age of Oakland residents to 30 and increase the number of residents who also work in Oakland from 3 percent of population to 10 percent. Employer assisted housing (EAH) is the demand-side strategy needed to achieve this diversification and stabilization of Oakland’s residential neighborhoods. Benchmarked on several comparable examples (Washington University in St. Louis, University Circle in Cleveland, Penn in Philadelphia, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, etc.), the Oakland EAH program would focus on a “live near your work” theme. Ideally, all Oakland institutions and nonprofits would provide this benefit to their employees using the same program infrastructure. Cleveland’s University Circle employers and partners employ this model successfully. By assisting employees to buy or rent homes close to work or transit, employers help reduce the long commutes that contribute to employee stress and fatigue, traffic congestion, and regional air pollution. Stress related to housing instability and distance from schools/childcare can further undermine worker productivity. In many cities nationwide, participating companies find EAH to be a cost-effective and hassle-free way to improve workforce retention, recruitment, and morale. Oakland’s EAH program may offer funding incentives such as down payment assistance, grants, and forgivable loans; it could also provide homebuyer education and incentives for existing employees currently living within the designated geography to improve their current homes. A successful program will need to include a strong and compelling marketing component to let people know about the benefit and encourage its use. This program, in combination with other initiatives, aims to achieve the following impacts: stabilize the Oakland housing market by increasing its proportion of homeowners and reducing the negative impact of poorly-maintained and/or disruptive properties; increase the median age in Oakland to 30 (a target of Oakland 2025); create a strong Oakland residential “brand” to attract new residents (one of Ten Big Changes for Oakland in Oakland 2025); and increase the percentage of residents who also work in Oakland from 3 percent to 10 percent (a target of Oakland 2025).
OPDC seeks the services of a consultant to lead the planning effort to establish EAH in Oakland.
SCOPE OF SERVICES AND DELIVERABLES The consultant will work directly with a diverse steering committee including OPDC, community residents, Oakland employers, and other experts (realtors, developers, for example) to complete the following activities and produce deliverables described therein: conduct and document stakeholder interviews with at least five employer partners; benchmark comparable programs, present them to steering committee for discussion and analysis; facilitate and record steering committee meetings and communications; draft program guidelines, solicit and incorporate steering committee feedback; secure employer commitments, finalize program documents; determine roll-out strategy and timeline; and articulate a marketing strategy and outline marketing plan.
QUALIFICATIONS The ideal candidate will be familiar with EAH and understand the utility/functionality of incentive programs such as this. Knowledge of community investment strategies of anchor institutions is a plus. Consultant will exhibit expertise in national housing trends and demographics with an eye toward how Oakland can tap into the opportunity presented by Pittsburgh’s high rankings in livability. Finally, we seek a candidate with the following skills: research expertise analytical skills, ability to synthesize complex information top quality writing skills, both technical writing and online/marketing communications strong group facilitation skills ability to communicate effectively with people of different backgrounds and points of view program management/design expertise To apply, please submit a 2 – 3 page proposal summarizing your interest in the assignment, your understanding of the project and approach. Provide a fee proposal and description of availability to complete this assignment given the timeframe described below. Attach examples of previous work and/or a CV along with three references. Proposal should be in the form of one pdf document submitted electronically to Wanda Wilson, OPDC Executive Director, email@example.com by Wednesday, May 15, 2013. Applicants seeking additional information must submit questions in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on Friday, May 10. Ms. Wilson will compile a written Q&A document and distribute via email it to those who request a copy by 5 PM May 10. To receive a copy even if you do not submit questions, send Ms. Wilson an email prior to or on May 10, 2013.
TIMEFRAME RFP release April 17, 2013 Q & A deadline, no additional questions May 10, 2013, Noon Applications due May 15, 2013, 5 PM Applicant interviews May 30 - 31, 2013 Consultant selection June 7, 2013 Signed consultant agreement/notice to proceed June 21, 2013 While there is no strict end date for the assignment, we hope to complete the bulk of the scope of services by the end of 2013.