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09/14/2023 RFQ Sound Communities-Norwalk Housing Development Consultant

Sound Communities, Inc. is an instrumentality of the Housing Authority of the City of Norwalk.
Sound Communities is seeking to engage an affordable housing development and financing consultant to provide technical assistance, capacity building support, and guidance on a pipeline of projects located in Norwalk.


RFQ RELEASE DATE: 09/14/2023

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Qualification packages must be submitted on or before Friday, October 6, 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, via email at on or before October 2. Responses will be posted on the Norwalk Housing Authority website under "Doing Business" at .


Sound Communities, Inc. is soliciting qualification packages from experienced development consultants to provide technical assistance, capacity building support, and guidance regarding affordable and mixed-income housing development in Connecticut. The selected consultant may be awarded a one-year contract with option for renewal.


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 administers over 1,000 Housing Choice Vouchers and is a Moving to Work agency that implements innovative strategies to enable Section 8 voucher holders to move to higher opportunity areas. NHA also operates four Learning Centers to offer after-school enrichment and academic support to K-5 students living in its developments.

Sound Communities, Inc. is an instrumentality of NHA and a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to create and preserve affordable and mixed-income housing. Specifically, it plans to redevelop failing public housing stock through RAD conversions and Section 18 demo/dispo; build new units on vacant or underutilized parcels; and preserve naturally occurring affordable housing. The underlying strategies driving this work include maximizing available federal and state subsidies, leveraging tax credits, utilizing project-based vouchers, and building staff capacity to ultimately self-manage the newly developed properties.

Currently, Sound Communities is co-developing 69 affordable units and a 5,000 sq. ft. community center with a local Norwalk developer. The project ("Oak Grove") is situated on land owned by the Norwalk Housing Authority and will include solar panels, EV charging stations, a wetlands walking trail, a fitness gym, and a Learning Center. With total project costs of approximately $38 million, the project will be financed using 4% LIHTC, tax exempt bonds issued by the Housing Authority, senior debt, Department of Housing funds, DECD Community Investment Fund dollars, and project-based vouchers. Closing is scheduled for September 2023, with a 15-month construction period beginning immediately thereafter.

The Board of Directors of Sound Communities is made up of NHA executive staff. The NHA Board of Commissioners - members of which are appointed by the Mayor of Norwalk with the exception of one commissioner who is elected by NHA tenants - provides additional governance and oversight to Sound Communities. Sound Communities centers its core values of racial justice, meaningful community engagement, and transparency through its policies and practices.


Sound Communities is seeking to engage an experienced affordable housing development and financing consultant to provide technical assistance, capacity building support, and general guidance on a pipeline of projects located in Norwalk, CT. Anticipated project funding includes sources from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH), the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), among others.

Services Needed:

• Technical Assistance in project financing, proformas, deal structuring, reviewing architectural plans, RFPs and public bids, construction contracts, permits, reviewing environmental assessments and related studies, procedures specific to public housing authorities and their instrumentalities, CHFA and DOH Consolidated Application and related requirements, and other development activities as needed. The intention here is to train the VP of Development in targeted areas of growth.

• Capacity Building Support through hands-on, project-based work that is coordinated with the VP of Development and completed in a timely fashion to adhere to project deadlines. This work would be done via Microsoft Teams meetings, phone calls, email, document sharing, and onsite at the Norwalk Housing Authority's offices. The intention here is to serve as a member of a very small team trying to achieve ambitious goals.

• General Guidance in best practices, managing key relationships, recommending contractors and consultants, avoiding pitfalls, applying lessons learned from past project experience, and growing the organization. The intention here is to pass on direct knowledge so that Sound Communities is set up for success.

Project Pipeline:

• 45 Meadow St: New construction, 56 units. $30MM TPCs.

Anticipated closing Summer 2024.
Demolition of five buildings and new construction of nine townhouse-style, walkup buildings to include 56 units (mix of one-, two-, three- and four-bedrooms) plus a 6,000 sq. ft. community center with an elevator to include property manager's offices, multipurpose room, Learning Center, and fitness gym. Project plans to include solar panels and meet EnergyStar requirements. Schematic drawings and site plans are complete and being submitted to the City of Norwalk for zoning permit in Fall 2023. Tenant relocation is underway. Considering mix of 30% and 50% AMI. Goal is to apply for CHFA/DOH Fall 2023 Development Engagement Process.

Roles and expectations for consultant:

o Assist with evaluating project financing options and deal structuring
o Review and provide feedback on project budgets and proforma
o Co-draft CHFA/DOH funding applications and participate in reviewing debt/investor proposals, LOIs, and interviews
o Participate in design team calls and stay abreast of building plans, permits, and preconstruction activities
o Provide input on how to achieve energy efficiency goals, manage construction costs, and streamline the construction schedule
o Assist with coordination of project financing closing, related negotiations, and finalizing agreements
o Troubleshoot and provide additional support as part of core development team

• 24 ½ / 26 Monroe St @ South Norwalk Train Station - In Conceptual Stage

Demolish Housing Authority headquarters and build 40-60 units of affordable senior housing on site. Demolish Leroy Downs and build 100-150 units of mixed-income multifamily rental housing with ground floor commercial space. Align with City redevelopment and transit goals. Engage tenants and neighbors through robust community engagement process and marketing strategy. Coordinate with CT Department of Transit and Metro-North. Pursue 4% and/or 9% LIHTC in multi-phase development by submitting competitive application in 2024/2025.

Roles and expectations for consultants:

o Act as thought partner from conception to construction completion in multi-phase, transit-oriented mixed-use development that will transform the area on the west side of the South Norwalk Train Station
o Co-develop financing plan including accessing predevelopment financing and determining optimal income mix
o Assess need for co-developer or other partners and help conduct related outreach
o Support procurement process and public bids for design team and contractors
o Support strategy around community engagement and public hearings
o Support coordination with government agencies and help secure permits
o Participate in design development, project financing, and all other elements of the development process
o Help develop strategy for ground-floor activation and tenancy
o Help access soft monies and leverage available resources through research, planning, and application support
o Troubleshoot and provide additional support as part of core development team

Note: Other development opportunities may arise and be assigned to the consultant during the contract period.


The selected consultant or consulting firm is expected to demonstrate the following qualifications:

o Experience developing affordable housing projects in Connecticut
o Experience working with CHFA/ DOH and following the Consolidated Application process
o Experience structuring LIHTC deals
o Experience working with or for public housing authorities, preferred
o Have sufficient time and capacity to meet the needs laid out in this RFQ
o Able to travel to Norwalk on regular basis (one day weekly or biweekly, preferred)
o Experience in property management a plus
o Relationships with lenders/investors a plus

To be considered, proposals must include the following (in any order or format):

1. Cover Letter
a. Explain why you are applying for this contract and how you are a fit for this scope of work

2. Past Experience
a. Describe three recent projects that you/your firm played a role in developing which demonstrate your qualifications for this scope of work. Be sure to include, at a minimum, project dates, location, total costs, financing sources, architect, general contractor, and what specifically you were responsible for.

3. Staffing
a. Explain how you will staff this scope of work. If you are an independent consultant, describe your time and capacity, including how often you would be able to travel to Norwalk. If you are a firm, and multiple staff members would be assigned to this contract, describe how you would structure staff time and responsibilities, as well as how often a member would be able to travel to Norwalk.
b. Describe qualifications or provide brief bios of specific staff that will be assigned to this contract

4. Fee Structure
a. Describe your approach to structuring fees with housing authorities and/or nonprofit developers with similar goals and needs as outlined in this RFQ.
Note: Fee structure will be discussed in depth during interview, if invited.

5. References
a. Provide a list of two (2) current or recent (within the last 12 months) clients for whom you performed services of a similar nature, including their contact information


Consultants responding to this RFQ are required to submit by e-mail a complete qualification package (per Section V "Submission Requirements" above) to by 5:00PM EST on Friday, October 6, 2023 with the subject line "Dev Consultant RFQ". Late submissions will not be considered.

In submitting a response to this RFQ, the respondent acknowledges that neither Sound Communities nor Norwalk Housing Authority will compensate the respondent for any submission or contract negotiation costs, including costs for preparation, appearances, interviews, and/or travel expenses.


All proposals will be evaluated by a selection committee composed of Sound Communities staff and directors using the selection criteria outlined below. Respondents may be requested to participate in an interview (either in person or via Zoom depending on availability). The committee will make a recommendation to the NHA Board of Commissioners, which will make the final decision for the contract award.

Selection Criteria
Maximum Rating Points

Demonstrated experience developing affordable housing projects in Connecticut  - 10 points

Demonstrated experience utilizing CHFA and DOH funding sources - 
10 points

Adequate staffing for scope of work - 10 points

Demonstrated experience working with or for public housing authorities -5 points

Demonstrated experience structuring and closing 9% LIHTC deals -5 points

TOTAL - 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 covenant 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, SCI may purchase equivalent services on the open market.

Force Majeure
Neither the contractor nor SCI 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.