What to Include in a Tenant Service Plan

April 20, 2009
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When it released its request for proposal (RFP) for 9 percent federal low-income housing tax credits, the Washington D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) also asked project owners to fill out its “Guidelines for Developing a Tenant Service Plan” form.

The District is looking to finance projects that focus on: elderly housing; special needs housing; housing for chronically homeless individuals and families in mixed-income buildings with supportive services; preservation of housing affected by expiring federal subsidies; new/substantial rehabilitation of housing (five or more units); new construction and preservation of affordable housing units; and permanent supportive housing units for the exclusive use of DMH consumers.

The DHCD’s form is used by owners to describe the processes and procedures for carrying out tenant services. The DHCD evaluates these plans based on how comprehensive, well-defined, feasible, innovative, and appropriate they are for the proposed tenant population. According to the DHCD, projects that include on-site services “must be designed to include the necessary physical space for the services.” The DHCD gives more consideration to services that are actively linked to the residents and “not simply provided to the community at large.”

Among the questions the Tenant Service Plan must address at a minimum are:

  1. What tenant services will be provided at the project?
  2. How will the tenant services be financed?
  3. What organizations will provide services or products, and how will the services from other organizations be coordinated or delivered to the tenants?
  4. Which tenant services will be provided on-site? (Must include what facilities are available at the project site for providing these tenant services.)
  5. What are the projected costs of the planned services and how will these services be funded? (Project sources must be identified in projected operating costs.)
  6. Which tenant services will be provided off-site? (Owners need to spell out what facilities are available within the community for these tenant services and what access the tenants will have to these facilities.)