241 Millers Falls Road
Turners Falls, MA
General Description of the Project
Rural Development, Inc. (RDI), a Chapter 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and an affiliate of the Franklin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), is seeking consulting services to assist the organization to evaluate its current financial and legal status, evaluate the potential for the organization to resume and move forward with a program of housing development in Franklin County for low and moderate income households and persons with special needs, and develop a plan of action for the immediate future of the organization. The consultant will work at the direction of the Board of Directors of RDI. The overall goals of the project will be to 1.) determine whether it is possible for RDI to continue as a financially viable organization able to carry out its corporate mission, while assuring that its affiliate HRA will remain a financially viable organization able to carry out its corporate mission, and 2.) determine an organizational structure for RDI.
Organizational Description and History
Rural Development, Inc. was created in 1991 to serve as the nonprofit arm of the Franklin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), a Massachusetts public agency. RDI was created to develop and produce affordable housing units nimbly and flexibly. RDI has developed more than 150 affordable units since its creation. Of those, the RDI continues to own, outright or through an LLC, and maintain 126 units of affordable housing throughout Franklin County including 2 of 20 units in the Wisdom Way Solar Village in Greenfield; the 18 units of Ashfield House in Ashfield; 48 units of the Crocker-Cutlery Building in Turners Falls; 26 SRO units at Moltenbrey in Turners Falls; 16 units at the Orange Recovery House, 10 units at the Orange Teen Housing and 6 rental units at Prospect and Grove all in Orange.
RDI was designed and has since its formation operated as an unstaffed organization that receives contracted staff support from the HRA. After many years of the RDI’s finances simply being recorded as a line item within the HRA budget, an effort was made to separately and transparently account for the financial operations of each organization and RDI began to pay HRA a flat rate $50,000 annual management fee. This work then led, approximately three years ago, to the next step of assessing the actual cost of having HRA servicing the RDI through time studies and other quantitative means. The time study work illustrated that the management fee being paid was insufficient and the RDI began reimbursing the HRA for actual costs. This, combined with chronic vacancies in some RDI properties and high management and maintenance costs of the current structure, has resulted in annual revenue deficits in the range of $150,000-200,000/year for the last two years. The FY19 audit reveals that, at this rate, RDI has approximately 2-2 ½ years of solvency unless a major change is made to operations, financials or both.
Description of Services to be Provided
Areas of Inquiry
- The consultant will evaluate the affordable housing development opportunities for RDI in its geographical service area. The consultant shall consider all factors related to RDI’s potential to successfully move forward with a program of affordable housing development, including but not limited to: the market for affordable and supportive housing in the greater Franklin County region, the challenges to affordable housing development as a result of the county’s rural and small community characteristics, the state and federal funding environment and processes for awarding funding to affordable housing projects, local community and municipal support for affordable housing development, etc.
- The consultant will establish a realistic but conservative housing development schedule for RDI over a period of 5-7 years, including specific projections for revenues to be realized from housing development activities.
- Based on the development schedule and revenue projections, the consultant will assess various options and scenarios for the future of RDI that may include but are not limited to:
- Continuation of RDI and its affiliation with HRA as is.
- Maintain a relationship with HRA but form partnerships with other state and regional organizations for future development and/or property management.
- End relationship with HRA and merge or be absorbed by another state or regional organization.
- Close down RDI and determine what happens to its existing project portfolio and remaining revenues.
- The consultant, in consultation with the Board of Directors, will determine which option or options are to be considered, and will then prepare a financial analysis of the impact on both RDI and HRA of each option under consideration.
- The consultant will prepare a legal analysis, in conjunction with RDI counsel subject to board approval, to determine how to implement the preferred options, including, if necessary, analysis of the legal issues and challenges arising from the proposed separation of RDI from HRA.
Contract term and value; milestones and reporting
It is the hope of the Board of RDI to complete this project as efficiently as possible and that the costs of this project will not exceed $30,000. The chosen consultant will be encouraged to meet or exceed the following milestones and timeframes.
March – project start.
- Meeting with RDI Board of Directors.
- Meeting with relevant HRA staff – Interim Executive Director, Finance Director, and development staff.
- Review financial, legal and organizational analysis of HRA and RDI. It is anticipated that this analysis, which is being conducted by the HRA/RDI Interim Director and consultant, Bill Breitbart, will be complete or be near completion by this project start.
- Analysis of 5 to 7-year housing development potential in the greater Franklin County region based on market conditions in Franklin County and the federal and state funding environment.
- Analysis of the revenue potential derived from a realistic 5 to7-year development plan.
- Presentation to RDI Board of Directors.
- Analysis of future organizational structure options and recommendation.
- Presentation to RDI Board of Directors.
- Financial impact to RDI and HRA and legal analysis of organizational structure chosen.
- Presentation to RDI Board.
- Presentation to joint RDI and HRA Board meeting.
Statement of Interest/Approach
- Letter of Interest asserting the consultant or consultant team’s interest in performing the services along with any explanations of what makes the consultant an exceptional candidate to do this work. Please tell us know how you might expand upon the Description of Services to result in a more comprehensive and more useful Study.
- In the letter, the consultant must state their business status: Corporation, LLC, Partnership or Sole Proprietor and attest that they are not prohibited from doing business in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They must also include name of key contact person, their complete contact information including Email address and Physical Address.
Statement of Qualifications
- Provide a brief narrative (1 page) describing the consultant or consultant team’s qualifications to perform the work as outlined, which should include:
- Affordable housing development,
- Financial analysis of nonprofit organizations, particularly affordable housing development organizations, and public housing authorities,
- Demonstrated knowledge of state and federal funding environments and familiarity with market conditions in Franklin County,
- Legal knowledge concerning nonprofit housing organizations and public housing authorities.
- Provide one to three project descriptions for similar projects completed that the proposer believes would be relevant in evaluating its capabilities to perform the work.
- Disclose any engagement in affordable housing development activities, public or private, within Massachusetts that could result in or be perceived as a conflict.
- Provide a list of the staff who will be assigned to this work along with their resumes and their physical office location.
- Describe how the project will be managed to ensure that services will be provided in a thorough, effective and timely manner, including a description of the roles of key personnel.
- Provide financial information about the proposer that demonstrates it will be able to carry out the work.
- Include three appropriate references including a contact name, address, email address and telephone number. These references should be able to substantiate the proposer’s ability to perform the work required.
- Provide a detailed price proposal and timeline.
Award of Contract
The RDI Board of Directors will evaluate the Statements of Qualifications/Interest and interview 1 or more qualified consultants. A contract will be awarded as soon as practicable. A written contract will be required as well as a statement of Non-Disclosure and Tax Compliance
Deadline for Submission and Questions
Statements of Qualifications/Interest may be emailed to Jill Carey at firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject Line RDI Future Proposal or physically mailed or hand delivered to:
Rural Development, Inc.
241 Millers Falls Road
Turners Falls, MA 01376
Attn: RDI Future Proposal
Applications received before March 1, 2019 will receive priority.
Questions regarding this Request for Consulting Services must be received in writing by email to email@example.com no later than 2/15/19 and should be sent to the email address above.