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Community Development Commission

2019 Countywide Assessment of Fair Housing Community Engagement Consultant

Colorful houses



The CDC, as the County of Sonoma’s housing and homeless services lead agency, in collaboration with the Cities of Santa Rosa and Petaluma, is creating an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) that examines barriers to housing that may exist for protected classes. The purpose of the AFH is to ensure that all publicly and privately funded housing and housing-related activities in Sonoma County affirmatively further fair housing. In particular, that they inform housing and community development policies and practices of the Cities of Santa Rosa and Petaluma and the County of Sonoma to ensure that they promote fair housing choice for all persons.


The purpose of this RFP is to solicit a Consultant to assist the CDC and the Cities of Petaluma and Santa Rosa build trust with, and gain feedback from, populations in Sonoma County and its incorporated cities that have historically or currently experience exclusion experience exclusion, including racial and ethnic minorities, limited English proficient (LEP) persons, persons with disabilities, seniors, families with children, and members of other protected classes.

Through a set of defined tasks listed below, the Consultant will conduct public outreach to these groups in Sonoma County, using meaningful and effective techniques – ones that differ from the standard public-hearing method typically employed by government, in an effort to identify existing inequities in housing and better methods to support populations that are disparately impacted by the lack of affordable housing. The feedback collected will be incorporated into the Assessment of Fair Housing, which will inform future outreach activities, programs and services.

All services will be conducted in alignment with a Diversity Community Engagement Specialist who was hired to outreach specifically to the Latino community, under a separate scope of work. The CDC’s Policy & Communications Manager Janelle Wetzstein will act as a liaison between both consultants to ensure work is completed efficiently.

Possibility of Extension and Expansion

It is possible that the contract could be extended and expanded to assist in the community engagement work associated with preparation of the Sonoma County 2020-2025 Consolidated Plan and the 2020-2025 Public Housing Authority Plan. This work would commence in early 2020 and end by mid-May 2020.

Collaborative Proposals Encouraged

Given the breadth and nature of the scope of services, collaborative responses by more than one firm, or in which more than one firm has subcontractors, are encouraged.

Integration with the Assessment of Fair Housing Work Plan

Proposers should review the 2019 Countywide Assessment of Fair Housing Work Plan, Attachment A to this Request for Proposals, to understand how this Scope of Services integrates into the full Assessment.

Scope of Services

Project Term

October 10 - December 31, 2019

CDC Team

The consultant will report to the following CDC Staff during the term of the contract:

Geoffrey Ross, Executive Director

Felicity Gasser, Federal Funding Administrator

Janelle Wetzstein, Policy & Communication Manager


All titles and terms listed below will be referred to in acronym form going forward in the Scope of Work.

  • CDC: Sonoma County Community Development Commission
  • Consultant: Community Engagement Consultant for the Assessment of Fair Housing
  • CDC ED: Community Development Commission Executive Director
  • FFA: Community Development Commission Federal Funding Administrator
  • P&C Manager: Policy & Communication Manager
  • AFH: Assessment of Fair Housing
  • HUD: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development


Task 1: Project Administration

Consultant will be required to conduct weekly meetings, via phone, email or in person depending on the CDC’s availability, with the P&C Manager and Federal Funding Administrator. Meetings may overlap with the Diversity Community Engagement Specialist. During these meetings, Consultant will update CDC staff on status of each of the contract tasks, including deliverables. Consultant and P&C Manager will agree on a weekly time at the start of the contract, with ability to fluctuate based on CDC staff’s schedules. A mid-project and Final Report meeting will be conducted with P&C Manager and CDC ED if needed.

Task 2: Canvassing

Manage Neighborhood Canvassing Project by surveying 5-10 vulnerable neighborhoods identified by the CDC.Canvassing will occur for 6 weeks likely in October and November 2019, though this time frame is subject to change at the direction of P&C Liaison. Canvassers will use a survey crafted by Consultant, with direction from P&C Liaison and approved by the CDC ED. The selection of neighborhoods will be done in coordination with CDC staff and the Diversity Community Engagement Consultant to ensure geographic coverage. Consultant will be responsible for ensuring that language interpretation is available as needed to reach respondents.


1. Consultant will synthesize the information gathered and create a Canvassing section within a Final Report due to the CDC by December 15, 2019, which provides a concise summary of the canvassing activities undertaken and the comments, views, and recommendations received.

Task 3: Website Survey

In partnership with the CDC, prepare a web-based survey that will provide an online forum for community members who are members of historically excluded communities or protected classes to document barriers to housing and opportunity.


  1. A web-based survey that can be made available on social media and on the websites for the Cities and Counties who are part of the AFH by October 30, 2019.

Task 4: Stakeholder Outreach

Organize 5-10 stakeholder meetings with community leaders and service providers that have strong inroads to members of protected classes within Sonoma County. The purpose of these meetings will be to hear from groups that may face unique barriers to housing, amenities and financial services as indicated by population profiles created by the CDC and partner organizations. These groups include:

  • Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, and other Asian populations
  • Native American
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
  • Black/African American
  • Seniors
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Families with children

These meetings should be targeted at these groups and/or organizations which represent or serve these populations and have the ability to partner with the CDC on public outreach, as well as collect feedback from community members. CDC staff will be present at these meetings to listen and, if necessary, explain the purpose of the AFH and the deficiencies in housing access for particular segments of the population using the neighborhood and population profiles. Meetings hosted by the CDC or organized by the consultant should have arrangements made for food, childcare and language interpretation where needed. Stakeholder meetings will be held mid-October through end of November, though this timeframe is subject to change at the direction of P&C Manager.


1. Consultant will take notes and synthesize comments and information from these meetings.

2. Consultant will help CDC staff identify new community groups and partners that can help with public outreach, locate appropriate venues if needed for stakeholder meetings and work with CDC staff to schedule these meetings.

3. Consultant will synthesize the information gathered and create a Stakeholder Outreach section within a Final Report due to the CDC by December 15, 2019, which provides a concise summary of the stakeholder outreach undertaken and the comments, views, and recommendations received.

Task 5: Focus Groups

Organize up to seven focus groups or community listening sessions with a selection of the aforementioned populations in different regions of the county. The purpose of these groups is to hear from groups targeted in the Assessment of Fair Housing, specifically people with disabilities, seniors, communities of color and other underserved populations in Sonoma County. Consultant may pay stipends to participants and should work with CDC staff to arrange food, childcare and interpreters if necessary for each session. Focus Groups will be held October - November 2019, though this timeframe is subject to change at the direction of P&C Manager.


1. In consultation with CDC, Consultant will be responsible for preparing agendas, handouts and any relevant presentation materials as appropriate, as well as maintaining notes and synthesizing information from each session.

2. Consultant will use existing stakeholder groups and community events, as well as print and electronic advertisements, to encourage participation in dedicated focus group, listening sessions and surveys.

3. Consultant will synthesize the information gathered and create a Focus Group section within a Final Report due to the CDC by December 15, 2019, which provides a concise summary of the focus groups undertaken and the comments, views, and recommendations received.

Task 5: Final Report

Collect and synthesize all information and assemble a Final Report of qualitative findings, highlighting how particular protected classes experience barriers to opportunity and fair housing choice.


1. Create a Final Report that includes results from canvassing, stakeholder meetings and focus groups, as well as an executive summary and recommendations chapter, due to the CDC by December 15, 2019.

Submission Requirements

General Instructions:

 To receive consideration, proposals shall be made in accordance with the following general instructions:

  1. The completed proposal shall be without alterations or erasures.
  2. No oral or telephonic proposals will be considered.
  3. The submission of a proposal shall be an indication that the proposer has investigated and satisfied him/herself as to the conditions to be encountered, the character, quality and scope of the work to be performed, and the requirements of the CDC, including all terms and conditions contained within this RFP.

Proposal Format and Contents: 

For ease of review and to facilitate evaluation, the proposals for this project should be organized and presented in the order requested as follows:

The section below is optional.  Use it if you expect coalitions or contractors with sub-contractors, etc

Section I: Organizational Information

Provide specific information concerning the firm in this section, including the legal name, address, and telephone number of your company and the type of entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation and whether public or private). Include the name and telephone number of the person(s) in your company authorized to execute the proposed contract. If two or more firms are involved in a joint venture or association, the proposal must clearly delineate the respective areas of authority and responsibility of each party. All parties signing the Agreement with the CDC must be individually liable for the completion of the entire project even when the areas of responsibility under the terms of the joint venture or association are limited. 

Section II: Qualifications and Experience:

  • Provide specific information in this section concerning the firm's experience in the services specified in this RFP. Examples of completed projects, as current as possible, should be submitted, as appropriate. References are required. Please provide names, addresses, and telephone numbers of contact persons within three (3) client agencies for whom similar services have been provided.
  • Debarment or Other Disqualification - Proposer must disclose any debarment or other disqualification as a vendor for any federal, state or local entities. Proposer must describe the nature of the debarment/disqualification, including where and how to find such detailed information. 

Section III: Project Approach and Work Schedule:

  • Provide a description of the methodology developed to perform all required services, with an aggressive schedule that will complete the project December 15, 2019. This schedule should contain specific milestones and dates of completion which will be used to set schedules. Also identify the extent of CDC personnel involvement deemed necessary, including key decision points at each stage of the project.
  • Include your response to the Scope of Work as referenced above.

Section IV: Cost of Service

The proposal shall clearly state ALL of the costs associated with the project, broken down by category of products and services, and all on-going costs for recommended or required products and services.

Section V: Identification of Subcontractors

Proposers shall identify all subcontractors they intend to use for the proposed scope of work. For each subcontractor listed, proposers shall indicate (1) what products and/or services are to be supplied by that subcontractor and, (2) what percentage of the overall scope of work that subcontractor will perform.

Section VI: Insurance

The selected proposer will be required to submit and comply with all insurance as described in the attached Sample Insurance Agreement (Attachment C) or identify specific exceptions to the sample agreement. 

Section VII: Additional Information

Include any other information you believe to be pertinent but not required.

Section VIII: Contract Terms:

Proposers must include a statement acknowledging their willingness to accept the sample contract terms (Attachment B) or identify specific exceptions to the sample agreement. 



All questions must be submitted in writing no later than 11:59 p.m. on September 16, 2019. If any questions are received, all questions will be responded to in an addendum issued and posted on the Commission’s website. The Commission will not provide verbal responses to any inquiries made by prospective respondents. The Commission will instead direct respondents to submit all questions in writing. Questions should be submitted via e-mail to

Question and Answer Session

A Question and Answer Technical Assistance Session will be available to all potential proposers on Monday, September 16 at 1:30 pm. Proposers may participate in person or via phone:

1440 Guerneville Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95403 
Call-in Number: 1-707-565-7154, Access Code: 992 435 148

Instructions for Proposal Submittal

Proposers must submit one (1) electronic version of the signed proposal by 11:59 p.m. on September 25, 2019. Subject line of emails should read: ASSESSMENT OF FAIR HOUSING – COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROPOSAL

Proposals shall be submitted electronically to




The following schedule is subject to change. If the timeline is changed, all known recipients of the original RFP will be notified of new dates, and any such changes will also be posted on the Commission’s website.

9/9/2019 Release Request for Proposals


11:59 pm

Deadline for Proposer’s Questions


1:30 pm

Question & Answer Technical Assistance Session (Attendance is Optional)


5:00 pm

CDC’s Responses to Questions Due


11:59 pm

Proposals Due
10/1/2019 Proposal Evaluation & Review
10/4/2019 Notice of Intent to Award (subject to delay without notice to proposers
10/10/2019 Project Kickoff Meeting with CDC Staff (subject to change based on consultant and CDC staff availability)
10/11/2019 Consultant work commences
11/30/2019 Complete all Community Engagement Canvassing, Meetings and Focus Groups
12/15/2019 Submit a Final Report that includes results from canvassing, stakeholder meetings and focus groups, as well as an Executive Summary and Recommendations Chapter
12/31/2019 Contract Term Ends



Corrections and Addenda

If a proposer discovers any ambiguity, conflict, discrepancy, omission, or other error in this RFP, the proposer shall immediately notify the contact person of such error in writing and request clarification or modification of the document. Modifications will be made by addenda as indicated below to all parties in receipt of this RFP.


If a proposer fails to notify the contact person prior to the date fixed for submission of proposals of a known error in the RFP, or an error that reasonably should have been known, the proposer shall submit a proposal at their own risk, and if the proposer is awarded a contract they shall not be entitled to additional compensation or time by reason of the error or its subsequent correction.


Addenda issued by the CDC interpreting or changing any of the items in this RFP, including all modifications thereof, shall be incorporated in the proposal. The proposer shall submit the addenda cover sheet with the proposal if the proposer has previously submitted a proposal to the CDC and submit electronically to Any oral communication by the CDC’s designated contact person or any other CDC staff member concerning this RFP is not binding on the CDC and shall in no way modify this RFP or any obligations arising hereunder.


Selection Process

  1. All proposals received by the specified deadline will be reviewed by the CDC for content, including but not limited to fee, related experience and professional qualifications of the bidding consultants. 
  2. CDC employees will not participate in the selection process when those employees have a relationship with a person or business entity submitting a proposal. Any person or business entity submitting a proposal who has such a relationship with a CDC employee who may be involved in the selection process shall advise the CDC of the name of the CDC employee in the proposal.
  3. Proposals may be evaluated using the following criteria (note that there is no value or ranking implied in the order of this list
    • Demonstrated ability to perform the services described;
    • Experience, qualifications and expertise;
    • Quality of work as verified by references;
    • Costs relative to the scope of services;
    • A demonstrated history of providing similar services to comparable entities;
    • Willingness to accept the CDC’s contract terms; and
    • Any other factors the evaluation committee deems relevant. (When such criteria are used for evaluation purposes, the basis for scoring will be clearly documented and will become part of the public record.)


The CDC’s Executive Director reserves the right, in his or her sole discretion, to take any of the following actions at any time before Commission approval of an award: waive informalities or minor irregularities in any proposals received, reject any and all proposals, cancel the RFP, or modify and re-issue the RFP. Failure to furnish all information requested or to follow the format requested herein may disqualify the proposer, in the sole discretion of the CDC. False, incomplete, misleading or unresponsive statements in a proposal may also be sufficient cause for a proposal’s rejection. 


The CDC may, during the evaluation process, request from any proposer additional information which the CDC deems necessary to determine the proposer’s ability to perform the required services. If such information is requested, the proposer shall be permitted three (3) business days to submit the information requested.


An error in the proposal may cause the rejection of that proposal; however, the CDC may, in its sole discretion, retain the proposal and make certain corrections. In determining if a correction will be made, the CDC will consider the conformance of the proposal to the format and content required by the RFP, and any unusual complexity of the format and content required by the RFP. If the proposer’s intent is clearly established based on review of the complete proposal submittal, the CDC may, at its sole option, correct an error based on that established content. The CDC may also correct obvious clerical errors. The CDC may also request clarification from a proposer on any item in a proposal that CDC believes to be in error.


  • The CDC reserves the right to select the proposal which in its sole judgment best meets the needs of the Commission. The lowest proposed cost is not the sole criterion for recommending contract award.
  • All firms responding to this RFP will be notified of their selection or non-selection after the evaluation committee has completed the selection process.

4. Finalist Interviews


After initial screening, the CDC may select those firms deemed most qualified for this project for further evaluation. Interviews of these selected firms may be conducted as part of the final selection process. Interviews may or may not have their own separate scoring during the evaluation process.