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Right to Counsel Program RFQ

Bids and Proposals
Requests for Qualifications. Responses due Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at 5 PM. Register for the optional information session on June 24.

Evaluation of the submittals has completed. The Oregon Law Center was selected as the program provider. See more details: 

Portland Housing Bureau to Launch Eviction Legal Defense Program


Overview

The Portland Housing Bureau’s Rental Services Office is responsible for fair housing and landlord-tenant services, developing code and administrative rules associated with local landlord-tenant law, processing exemptions to local mandatory relocation assistance, and providing technical assistance and information (in person, via email, and over the phone) to renters and landlords on general landlord-tenant law.

Currently, Portland tenants facing eviction have little to no chance of being represented. In 2019, of the 5,904 eviction cases filed in Multnomah County, only 3% of tenants had lawyers. The majority of the BIPOC community are renters and disproportionately suffer the long-lasting negative impacts of evictions including homelessness, decreased health outcomes, job loss, poor educational performance for children, and housing discrimination.

The Portland Housing Bureau has allocated funding for a targeted Right to Counsel Program. This program will provide tenants at no higher than 60% of the area median income who have received a notice terminating their tenancy or housing subsidy, or a summons for an eviction action with the right to an attorney. An attorney will advise eligible tenants of their rights and represent them through negotiation and/or in eviction court. Additional or refined eligibility requirements may be developed with the selected program provider.

This request for qualifications is being issued to identify a list of potential organizations to provide eviction defense services to qualifying tenants. Reponses should describe experience and/or ability to provide eviction defense services, ability to effectively engage in outreach to the BIPOC and other historically underserved communities regarding eviction defense services, and ability to effectively provide services to underserved communities. Contracts for services may go to one provider, one partnership, multiple providers, or multiples partnerships. Participation of certified Disadvantaged, Minority, Women, and Emerging Small Businesses is encouraged.

Solicitation Location

www.portland.gov/phb/rso/rfq  (shortcut to this webpage)


Information Session

non-mandatory information session for this solicitation will be held:

Thursday, June 24, 2021
9 to 10 AM
via Zoom (online meeting help)

Register here

Please scroll down for the FAQ.


Solicitation Coordinator

All questions and responses should be directed to the solicitation coordinator, with contact information below:

Christina Dirks
Policy and Program Coordinator
(503) 865-6663
Christina.Dirks@portlandoregon.gov

Portland Housing Bureau
Attn: Rental Services Office
421 SW 6th Ave, Suite 500, Portland, Oregon 97204

Key Deadlines

  1. Request for Qualifications Issued: Tuesday, June 22, 202       
  2. Non-Mandatory Information Session: Thursday, June 24, 2021
  3. Responses Due: Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at 5:00 PM
  4. Date by which all funds must be expended: $440,000 by June 30, 2022 with consideration for annual contract renewals.

All submissions must be received by the deadline to be considered. The Portland Housing Bureau reserves the right to change any dates to serve the goals of the Request for Qualifications.

Submission Requirements

Submit a 2-page response that includes:

  1. Name of the organization and contact information.
  2. Summary of experience and ability to provide eviction defense to low-income tenants.
  3. Demonstrated ability and capacity to perform outreach and serve historically underserved communities.
  4. Estimated cost structure and a description of potential costs.

All applicants should be prepared to provide any additional requested documentation and budget information within one week of being notified that you have been determined to be qualified and are in consideration for being the selected Program provider.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the next steps in selecting a program provider after a response to the RFQ is submitted?
    All responses to this RFQ will be reviewed to determine if the applicant meets the minimum qualifications set out in the RFQ. Those applicants deemed qualified will be asked to provide additional information about their qualifications, more information about their proposed budget, outreach plan, and program implementation concepts. This information will be due one week from request. The initial RFQ submission and additional information will then be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of individuals based on a decision-making framework set out in the request for additional information. 
     
  2. The RFQ states that tenants at 60% AMI will be eligible for this program, what is 60% AMI?
    The 2021 Area Median Income for a Family of Four in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro MSA is: $96,900. 60% of AMI is $40,420 for a household of one, $46,440 for household of two, $52,260 for a household of three, $58,020 for a household of four, and $6,700 for a household of five. You can find AMI calculations for larger households here: AMI Income and Rent Limits.
     
  3. Can this program be operated by multiple providers?
    We are open to multiple program providers. However, we are mindful of maximizing the number of tenants served through this program and avoiding duplication of services.
     
  4. Can a smaller provider put a cap on the number of cases that they accept every week through this program?
    Yes, we are open to consider capping intakes and/or cases accepted under this program by the week or some other metric for selected program providers in order to respond to the provider’s capacity.
     
  5. Has the program design been decided?
    No. We will work with the selected program provider to work out the specific design and operation of the program.
     
  6. What will intake look like for this program? Will program applicants go through 211 or Bienestar?
    We will work with the selected program provider to determine how intakes will be handled for the program.
     
  7. Will the capacity of a potential provider to start to the program as soon as possible be considered when reviewing submissions?
    A proposed start date for the program to be operational will not be considered when reviewing initial submissions to determine if applicants meet minimum qualifications. Consideration will be given to an applicants’ projected start date in the second round of review following the request for additional information.
     
  8. Will there be any additional funds for or direct access to rent assistance or other supports to assist program participants?
    This program does not have any specific funds allocated for rent assistance. However, we are in conversation with the agencies that oversee the distribution of federal, state and local rent assistance about the need to earmark or otherwise provide a direct connection between participants in the Right to Counsel program and the agencies distributing rent assistance. Any possible rent assistance that may be linked to this program will be COVID-related rent assistance funds. Once that source of rent assistance is expended, there is no additional allocated rent assistance funds for this program.
     
  9. Is there the possibility to scale up this program to meet the true need for this service? If additional funds are secured, will the selected program provider receive the additional funds or will a new RFQ be issued?
    Maybe. The Portland Housing Bureau has submitted a proposal to City Council to use part of the fiscal recovery funds received from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act to fully fund a Right to Counsel Program. City Council will make decisions on how to spend these federal funds in late July. If additional funds are received for a Right to Counsel Program, whether we amend the contract of the existing program provider accordingly or publish a new RFQ will depend on the amount of additional funds and the capacity/interest of the existing program provider.
     
  10. The county is exploring funding a similar Right to Counsel program. If the County does allocate funds, will there be coordination between the County’s program and the City’s program?
    Yes, there will be coordination with any other Right to Counsel program funded by the County.

For additional questions contact the solicitation coordinator:

Christina Dirks
Policy and Program Coordinator
Portland Housing Bureau, Rental Services Office
Christina.dirks@portlandoregon.gov
(503) 865-6663