Request for Proposals – Newark Safe Haven

Request for Proposals – Architectural Services
Newark Safe Haven
Proposal Due
: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Project Background

A “Safe Haven” is a form of permanent supportive housing funded and administered under HUD’s Supportive Housing Program (SHP), serving hard-to-reach homeless persons with severe mental illness and other debilitating behavioral conditions who are on the streets and have been unwilling or unable to participate in supportive services. Safe Havens provide more than just shelter, they close the gap in housing and services for those homeless individuals who, perhaps because of their illness, have refused help or have been denied or removed from other homeless programs.

The Newark Safe Haven will serve the goals of the Essex-Newark Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, which seeks to significantly increase the number of permanent supportive housing units designated for those who are long-term homeless with mental health and/or addiction substance abuse issues. The Newark Safe Haven will provide 25 units of permanent supportive housing towards this Ten Year Plan goal.

Project Stakeholders

This project will be undertaken as a unique public-private consortium consisting of, but not limited to, the following organizations:
New Community Corporation (Housing Developer/Operator)
University Behavioral HealthCare (Primary Service Provider)
The City of Newark (Shelter Plus Care rental subsidies)
Corporation for Supportive Housing (Predevelopment Funding & Technical Assistance)
The New Jersey Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency (Special Needs Housing Trust Fund)

In addition, the project intends to leverage additional resources for tenants through partnerships with:

Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition (Drop-In Center Health Services)
Goodwill Industries of Northern New Jersey (Vocational assessment and training)
G.I. Go Fund (Services for tenants who may be veterans)

A Design Committee will be created from amongst the project stakeholders in order to select and locate an architectural firm for design services.

Project Location

The project will be located in the Central Ward of Newark, on 14th Avenue between Bergen and Camden Streets. The site, which is currently owned by NCC, is approximately two blocks from the clinical site of the project’s service partner: University Behavioral HealthCare (on the UMDNJ campus). The site consists of 4 contiguous, vacant lots with an overall dimension of 116’ x 100’, totaling 11,600 square feet. See Attachment A – Location Map and Photo.

Project Scope

The landmark McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 (which provides federal money for homeless shelter programs) was amended in 1992 to include a provision for the creation of Safe Havens. The McKinney Act specified several characteristics of Safe Haven facilities:

24-hour residence for eligible persons who may reside for an unspecified duration;
Private or semiprivate accommodations;
Overnight occupancy limited to 25 persons;
Low-demand services and referrals; and
Supportive services to eligible persons who are not residents on a drop-in basis.

Safe Havens encourage residents to go beyond just finding shelter. This is done by creating a housing environment that is safe, sanitary, flexible and stable, and which places no treatment participation demands on residents, but has high expectations of residents. These expectations specifically include that the resident will transition from unsafe and unstable street life to a permanent housing situation, and that re-engagement with treatment services will occur. Because these expectations are introduced non-intrusively and as the resident is ready, the phrase “low demand” is often used to characterize Safe Haven housing.

Housing Component:
The Newark Safe Haven project is expected to house 25 chronically homeless individuals in some combination of small efficiency units and larger, spacious studio apartments with kitchenettes (containing a small refrigerator, sink, microwave and/ or stove) and private baths. The exact number and configuration of units is still preliminary and will be further delineated by the Design Committee with the winning architectural firm. There will also be a minimum of two community spaces for tenants to socialize and meet one another. It is hoped that these spaces will help prevent isolation and withdrawal. One space should have a small communal kitchen just for the tenants. Additionally there should be a separate reception area and 2-3 staff & conference rooms.

Service Component:
In addition to housing, the site will include the following:
Office space for service staff to provide counseling, crisis intervention, supportive housing management, psychiatric nursing, and financial literacy.
Healthcare treatment rooms.
Administrative functions.
A medical office for basic clinical care.
Laundry room.

Community Component:
An Engagement/Drop-In center open to non-residents.
A commercial kitchen for providing breakfast and lunch to the drop-in community
Shower facilities for Drop-In clients
Educational space/library

*The Safe Haven model anticipates significant services staffing*

Key Design Considerations:

Staff should be able to monitor the communal areas effectively.
Front Desk/monitoring & Visibility: When guests and clients first enter Safe Haven, they are warmly greeted at the front desk. Residents may pick up their room key at the front desk and turn it in when they leave. Some clients, as part of their Care Plan, may need to empty their pockets or leave their bag at the front desk. Cigarettes and quarters for laundry may be distributed here. How guests and clients enter and/or line up to be served will be a key organizing factor in the design. This must be done in as welcoming and discreet a manner as possible.
The need for Gender-separated space. Some Safe Haven clients have difficulties with boundaries. Many female clients have been victimized by men and are afraid of them.
Design with Flexibility in Mind. Since this model is still under development and the staff may need to make adjustments to the population mix, intake flow, operating procedures, etc., rooms and layout should be designed to allow for the maximum flexibility of usage.
A communication system. There should be a simple, reliable in-house communication system, particularly with a way to signal other staff when help is needed in a certain part of the building.
Private Space. Private rooms are more desirable than shared rooms. Some clients may be paranoid or have difficulty setting limits with others. They may also occasionally need to yell at their voices or perform certain rituals that make them feel safer, and they can do this in the privacy of their own room. If possible, provide outdoor garden space for each resident.
Accessibility & Code Compliance. The whole project shall be accessible per current ADA standards and shall conform to all federal, state and local code requirements.
Light and Air. The design should strive to allow for the maximum amount of natural light and air into both the communal and resident spaces. Endeavor to incorporate daylighting, overhangs and other passive solar strategies as much as possible.

Safety Considerations:

Residents that have come from living on the streets may have a need for self-protection that they may be reluctant to give up. There will be a need to balance tenant’s privacy with the safety of the staff and other residents.

Limit building entry to one monitored area to ensure those entering the building are clients. Security cameras may not be installed immediately after construction completion, but conduit should be in place for future installations if desired by staff.
Monitor whether residents leave on lights or radios when they are not in their units.
Disburse staff offices throughout the building to monitor occasional unpredictable client behavior and help staff blend in with residents.
The Engagement/Drop-In Center should be connected but somehow separated from the residential areas, either through use of separate floors, wings, breezeways, etc.
Employ durable alternative materials in a creative way to maintain a homelike environment while avoiding an institutional feel, i.e., security mirrors, “hospital” door hinges, Plexiglas, etc.
The exterior of the building should fit in with the neighborhood. There should be places for clients to sit that are not directly in front of the building, to avoid giving neighbors the idea that the project is a “magnet”. Create an inviting lounge or atrium where clients can sit, as well as outdoor or indoor smoking areas.

Additional Considerations:

It is expected that the building will be one or two stories in height.
Green Design: the design should strive to be as sustainable and energy efficient as possible.
Cost Factors: designers should strive to create as cost-effective a project as possible while balancing the long-term viability and life-cycle costs of the project. Square footage costs need to be within average affordable housing market standards. The current estimated cost of construction is approximately $2,500,000.
Site Factors: It is assumed that a variance for parking will need to be obtained from the City of Newark so that no on-site parking will be necessary. Staff parking will be provided on an adjacent NCC-owned property located behind the site.
Provide as much access to open space onsite as possible.

Responses and Submissions:

This project will be the first of its kind in New Jersey. The Design Committee has issued this RFP in order to solicit, from New Jersey architectural firms, the most innovative design schemes and responses to the above scope.

Newark Safe Haven RFP responses are due Wednesday, October 13th by 5:00PM and should be sent to the address below. At your option, you may submit your responses via hardcopy (3 copies) or via email.

Richard Hehmeyer
Director of Real Estate Development
New Community Corporation
233 West Market Street
Newark, NJ 07107

Additionally, respondents will be required to read and actively engage the best practices which would apply to this particular site and project, as laid out in the NJHMFA Special Needs Housing Trust Fund Design Questionnaire:

The winning firm must be able to synthesize the ideas of the design committee and key stakeholders.

All responses will be evaluated by the Design Committee and it is expected that a firm will be selected by no later than October 22, 2010. The selected firm will be asked to engage in full A/E services, from design documents through construction administration, and to enter into the standard AIA Owner-Architect form of set fee contract. The selected firm shall comply with the NJHMFA Special Needs Underwriting Guidelines, including evidence of valid Errors & Omission Insurance of 10% of the construction costs or $250,000, whichever is greater. Architectural fees shall be limited to no more than 10% of construction costs.

Submission Requirements
The Design Committee will read, review and evaluate each proposal and selection will be made on the basis of the criteria listed below:
1) Cover letter
2) Credentials of the Project Team
a. List of similar design projects which demonstrate sustainable architecture and optimal energy performance.
b. Information on delivery of projects on time and within budget. Provide design time, cost of construction, any change orders.
c. List of references.
d. Identification of Project manager and project team.
e. Identification of subconsultants.
3) Understanding of the task and requirements of the scope. Include at a minimum in any format:
a. Schematic floor plans including furniture layout, room names & size,
b. Sections and probable structural system,
c. Elevations showing fenestration, building materials, overall heights & section cuts,
d. Breakdown of major systems, including HVAC, security, framing, lighting, etc.
f. Any additional submissions that the offerer deems necessary to convey their design
4) Design Innovation
a. Energy conservation methods demonstrated
b. Innovative and unique designs responses to the model
c. Creative use of low maintenance, durable materials
d. Understanding of the scope and client needs
5) Cost of Services
a. Firms must submit an estimate of their fees in a proposal.

ATTACHMENT A – Location Map and Photo

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