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8/31/2023 RFQ Sound Communities HUD Counsel



Sound Communities, Inc. is an instrumentality of the Housing Authority of the City of Norwalk. 
Sound Communities is seeking to retain a law firm to provide legal counsel and ongoing assistance in understanding and complying with regulations under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and its programs.  


RFQ RELEASE DATE: 08/31/2023 

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Qualification packages must be submitted on or before Friday, September 15, 2023 at 5:00PM EST. Submissions received after the deadline will not be considered. 

SUBMISSION PROCESS: All qualification packages must be submitted via email to

CONTACT: Questions may be directed to Lisa Endo, VP of Development of Sound Communities, at before the deadline. 


Sound Communities, Inc. is soliciting qualification packages from law firms or other qualified consultants to provide legal counsel and ongoing assistance in understanding and complying with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations in relation to various topics outlined in this Request for Qualifications (RFQ). 


The Housing Authority of the City of Norwalk (NHA), which was established in 1939, manages approximately 1,000 public housing units, including both family and senior developments. The agency also administers over 1,000 Housing Choice Vouchers, including regular HCV, Mainstream, VASH, TPV,  and Family Unification Program. It is a Moving to Work agency that implements research-based strategies to enable Section 8 voucher holders to move to higher opportunity areas and generally increase voucher utilization rates. NHA manages ROSS and FSS programs to promote economic mobility among public housing tenants. It also operates four Learning Centers to offer after-school enrichment and academic support to K-5 students living in its developments. 

Sound Communities, Inc. (SCI) is an instrumentality of NHA.  SCI was formed in 2020 and is pending its 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. The mission of SCI is to create and preserve affordable and mixed-income housing. Project types include new construction, acquisition-rehab, and redevelopment of public housing through RAD conversions and Section 18 Demo/Dispo. Typical financing sources include Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH), Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), and Section 8 housing vouchers.

Currently, SCI is developing 69 affordable residential units and a Learning Center with total development costs of approximately $37 million that will be financed with 4% LIHTC and tax exempt bonds issued by the Housing Authority, among other sources. It is expected to open in 2024. Also in development is a Section 18 demolition/disposition of public housing units, which SCI will redevelop into 56 affordable units using LIHTC and project-based vouchers, among other sources. The project is in the process of applying for zoning permits and expects to close on financing in mid-2024. 

The Board of Directors of SCI is made up of NHA executive staff. The NHA Board of Commissioners, members of which are appointed by the Mayor of Norwalk, provides additional governance and oversight to SCI. 


SCI is seeking ongoing services from a law firm experienced and knowledgeable in HUD regulations and policies. SCI intends to retain the firm selected through this RFQ process for a period of three (3) years with the option to renew its contract. 

The firm will be expected to provide advice and assistance regarding the creation and implementation of policies and programs related to the following topics, among other matters as they arise:

Public housing, HUD Multifamily Assisted housing, PHA Plan, Administrative Plan, Housing Choice Vouchers, Section 8 waitlists, Project-based Vouchers, RAD conversions, Section 18 demo/dispo, PBRA contracts, Uniform Relocation Act, REAC and HQS inspections, Fair Housing, Section 3, Davis-Bacon, procurement, Part 58 Environmental Reviews, CDBG, HOME, Housing Trust Fund, Moving to Work waivers

SCI will expect prompt responses to questions via email. SCI may also request meetings by phone or virtual conference. From time to time, SCI may require a written memo stating a legal opinion. 

SCI prefers to have one main point of contact identified at the firm, although we expect certain matters to be routed to subject matter experts and SCI will likely develop working relationships with various attorneys. 


Consultants responding to this RFQ are required to submit by e-mail a signed qualification package by 5:00PM EST on Friday, September 15, 2023. Late submissions will not be considered. 

In submitting a response to this RFQ, the respondent acknowledges that Sound Communities will not compensate the respondent for any submission or contract negotiation costs, including costs for preparation, appearances, interviews, and/or travel expenses. 

Submitted proposals must include the following: 

1. Proposal Cover Sheet 
a. Complete and sign the attached Proposal Cover Sheet (Appendix 1) 
2. Company Information 
a. Brief company overview, including areas of practice 
b. Experience in performing similar services, including working specifically with the instrumentalities of public housing authorities 
c. Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in company hiring and other practices 
3. Staff Qualifications 
a. Identification of the point person that would be assigned to this scope of work and a summary of their qualifications (or attached resume) 
b. Additional staff qualifications (or resumes) as needed to demonstrate breadth of knowledge within the firm concerning matters listed in "Section III: Scope of Services"
4. References 
a. Provide a list of three (3) current or recent (within the last 12 months) clients for whom you performed services of a similar nature, including their contact information
5. Attachment:  Fees 
a. Provide a current list of hourly fees for any individuals that may be engaged in this scope of work 
6. Attachment:  Debarment Certification
a. Complete and sign the attached Debarment Certification (Appendix 2)


All proposals will be evaluated by a selection committee using the selection criteria outlined below. Respondents may be requested to participate in an interview via Zoom. The committee will make a recommendation to the Sound Communities Board of Directors, which will make the final decision for the contract award. 

Selection Criteria
Maximum Rating Points

Length and depth of experience with similar clients   
15 points 

Staff qualifications
10 points 

Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion
5 points

Reasonableness of fees  5 points

Required RFP attachments are completed
5 points

40 points

NHA and Sound Communities, Inc. reserve the right to make an award without further discussion of the proposals submitted and without conducting an interview process. Therefore, proposals should be clear and complete with regards to the above criteria. 


Sound Communities, Inc. (SCI) reserves the right to cancel this RFQ or to reject any and all proposals received. In the case of rejection of all proposals, SCI reserves the right to advertise for new qualifications or to proceed to do the work otherwise if in its best interest. 

SCI shall waive any informalities or allow the respondent to correct them. A proposal may be modified or withdrawn provided that the modification or request for withdrawal is made by the respondent in writing and is received prior to the Submission Deadline. After the Submission Deadline, the respondent may not change any provision in its proposal in a manner prejudicial to the interests of SCI and/or fair competition. SCI reserves the right to retain submitted proposals and not permit withdrawal for a period of 30 days after the Submission Deadline. 

SCI reserves the right to require the contractor to keep accurate timesheets for all employees assigned to perform any project, task or assignment resulting from this RFQ and any resulting contract. 

SCI reserves the right to revise, change or terminate a contract awarded pursuant to this RFQ at any time for its convenience upon 30 days written notice to the contractor without prejudice or liability if: 
- Funding is not available 
- Legal restrictions are placed upon the expenditure of monies for this category of service, or 
- SCI's requirements in good faith change after contract award. 

Termination for Cause and for Convenience 
SCI may terminate this contract in whole, or from time to time in part, for SCI's convenience or the failure of the contractor to fulfill the contract obligations (cause/default). SCI shall terminate by delivering to the contractor a written notice of termination specifying the nature, extent, and effective date of termination. Upon receipt of the notice, the contractor shall: (1) immediately discontinue all services affected (unless the notice directs otherwise), and (2) deliver to SCI all documents and records to which it is entitled pursuant and subject to the provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct. If the termination is for the convenience of SCI, SCI shall be liable only for payment for services rendered before the effective date of the termination. 

If the termination is due to failure of the contractor to fulfill its obligations under the contract (cause/default), SCI may (1) require the Contract to deliver to it, in the manner and to the extent directed by SCI, any work described in the Notice of Termination and (2) withhold any payment to the contractor, for the purpose of set-off or partial payment, as the case may be, of amounts owned by SCI by the contractor. In the event of termination for cause/default, SCI will be liable to the contractor for reasonable costs incurred by the contractor before the effective date of the termination. Any dispute shall be decided by the Procurement Officer. 

Payment & Taxes 
Contractor will be required to submit invoices monthly. The invoice will include a breakdown of all services provided, including timesheets of employees assigned to the project. SCI will authorize and process for payment each invoice within thirty (30) days of receipt of invoice. 

Hold Harmless 
The successful respondent agrees that it shall indemnify and hold harmless SCI from and against any and all claims for injury, loss of life, or damage to or loss of property caused or alleged to be caused by acts or omissions of the successful respondent, its employees, and invites on or about the premises and which arise out of the successful respondent's performance or failure to perform as specified in the agreement. 

Official, Agent and Employees of NHA/Sound Communities Not Personally Liable 
It is agreed by and between the parties hereto that in no event shall any official, officer, employee, or agent of Norwalk Housing Authority or SCI in any way be personally liable or responsible for any convent or agreement herein contained whether expressed or implied, nor for any statement, representation or warranty made herein or in any connection with this agreement. 

In the event the contractor does not fulfill its obligations under the terms and conditions of the contract, Sound Communities may purchase equivalent services on the open market.  

Force Majeure 
Neither the contractor nor Sound Communities shall be held liable for non-performance under the terms and conditions to the contract due, but not limited, to government restriction, strike, flood, fire or unforeseen catastrophe beyond either party's control. Each party shall notify the other of any situation that may prevent performance under the terms and conditions of the contract. 

The respondent certifies by submission of a proposal that it is not a debarred, suspended, or ineligible contractor by any Agency of Federal of State government. No proposal received from a debarred, suspended, or ineligible contractor will qualify for award. 


Prior to award (but not as part of the qualification submission), the successful proposer shall furnish SCI with proof of the following:
• General Liability. $1,000,000 each occurrence
• Workmen's Compensation/Employer's Liability Insurance coverage. $1,000,000

The contractor must provide a copy of each applicable policy to the Authority. Binders are not acceptable. Insurance coverage must be maintained until completion of the project. All insurances must include the following endorsements: 

Sound Communities, Inc.
c/o The Housing Authority of the City of Norwalk
24 ½ Monroe Street 
Norwalk, CT 06854 

Proposal Cover Sheet

Company Name:

Company Address:

Proposal Contact Person:


Company Diversity Metrics
Company Ownership Company Employees

Percentage of company owners and/or executive management who identify as: 
%  Black/African American 
%  Native American 
%  Asian 
%  Latino/Hispanic 
%  Women

Percentage of full and part-time employees who identify as: 
%  Black/African American 
%  Native American 
%  Asian 
%  Latino/Hispanic 
%  Women 
NOTE: Percentages will not total 100%. Informed estimates are acceptable.

WMBE Certification Number (if applicable, not required):
Verification Statement
The undersigned proposer hereby states that by completing and submitting this form s/he is verifying that all information provided in this proposal is, to the best of his/her knowledge, true and accurate, and agrees that if NHA discovers any information herein is false, that shall entitle NHA to not consider nor make award or to cancel any award with the undersigned party. 

Signed: Date:

Print Name:



The undersigned, a Respondent of the Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by Sound Communities, Inc. hereby certifies on behalf of itself and each member of Respondent's team, as follows: 

In accordance with HUD 24 CFR 85.35, Respondent certifies that neither Respondent nor any member of the Respondent's team is debarred or suspended or is otherwise excluded from or ineligible for participation in Federal Assistance programs under Executive Order 12549 "Debarment and Suspension."

Signed: Date:
Print Name:
Company Name: