REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS - Disaster Legal Services Project & Adult Learning Content Developer Consultant

Brief Overview

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) seeks the services of an independent project consultant to assist it in supervising our recently awarded almost $6.5 million three year Disaster Legal Services (DLS) grant from the Legal Services Corporation. This work also includes a subcomponent with primary responsibility for creating content working with our staff for our Adult Learning Management System and to implement our new Adult Learning Management System. The goals of our DLS project and our subcomponent project is to provide high quality legal assistance to disaster survivors and to help better prepare SLLS to respond to disasters.

Introduction to SLLS

SLLS provides free legal assistance to indigent and other vulnerable people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. We protect their livelihoods, health, housing and families. Through legal representation, we are able to assure fairness for our clients as they navigate through the civil justice system. SLLS works to combat the inequities and disproportionate impacts faced by marginalized communities of color.

SLLS is the largest nonprofit civil legal services provider in Louisiana serving 50% of the state’s poverty population in twenty-two parishes across southeast Louisiana. Pre-pandemic, Louisiana had the third highest poverty rate in the United States, the second highest rate of women killed by their intimate partner, the highest rate of mass incarceration in the world disproportionately impacting marginalized communities, was consistently noted as one of the unhealthiest states, and had the second highest rate of food insecure seniors. We have been struck by ten presidentially declared natural disasters since 2005’s catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, and the people we serve have been particularly hard-hit by the impact of COVID-19 due to our economic reliance on the hospitality and oil and gas industries and Hurricane Ida.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and in the wake of Ida, SLLS has fought for the rights of vulnerable people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, provided safeguards to domestic violence survivors, protected the livelihood of disaster victims and assisted renters who were facing eviction.  SLLS has won significant appellate cases protecting thousands of vulnerable people through eviction defense and child in need of care work, and engaging in successful policy advocacy with government agencies administering housing assistance, child protection programs, and unemployment benefits. Our 2021 case work for individual households resulted in over 30,000 people being helped through free legal aid to protect their lives, homes, and families with a direct economic impact to them through our work of over $28.5 million.

Pre-pandemic, SLLS had about 100 team members on staff. Since COVID, we have grown to have almost 175 employees, seven offices, staff embedded onsite with other partners such as hospitals, medical clinics, homeless shelters, domestic violence victim service centers, community colleges, and robust pro bono partnerships. We have almost 100 different funding sources though LSC funding is about 45% of our budget with another almost 30% from the Louisiana Bar Foundation. In response to the effects of COVID-19 on housing, we have hired 14 additional attorneys to represent people who are facing eviction and 15 new staff to represent vulnerable populations affected by natural disasters.

Request for Proposals

Purpose of RFP

SLLS seeks an independent project consultant to participate in the management of SLLS’s Disaster Legal Services grant and to assist in developing training resources for staff.  SLLS understands the importance of analyzing and adapting our resources to fit the needs of our growing organization. Our goal is to improve SLLS’s ability to respond to the legal needs of disaster survivors and to better prepare the agency to respond to future disasters internally and as part of our broader statewide civil legal aid justice community.

Deliverables

In this two pronged role, the consultant we are seeking will assist SLLS in managing our DLS Project and will have primary responsibility for our Adult Learning Content Development (ALCD) Project as a subcomponent of our DLS Project. We expect the selected consultant will need to dedicate significantly more time to accomplishing our project plan goals during the first 12 months of the project with the level of effort being significantly less during 2024 and by 2025 minimal work to be done. The rationale for this is that as the major deliverables under the contract are achieved, the work effort needed to supervise and implement the project will be less.

Disaster Legal Services (DLS) Project

In the DLS role, the consultant will provide general supervision, diligent monitoring, and reporting on the usage of SLLS’ DLS grant to ensure that it aligns with our grant performance plan. The full performance plan with tasks already completed to date is attached to this Request for Proposal as Attachment A. The consultant will have primary responsibility for issuing, coordinating, implementing, and supervising Goal 2, Objective 1, Milestone 8 regarding SLLS’ Adult Learning Management System described in more detail in the next section and Goal 3, Objective 3, Milestones 1-4 to help SLLS create an outreach plan using media and to secure a technology consultant to ensure disaster survivors have access to legal services. The selected consultant for the instant RFP will report directly to the Executive Director regarding progress on the DLS Project general oversight, supervision, and progress on deliverables.

All decisions pertaining to the management of the grant are rooted in and reflective of the Goals, Objectives, and Milestones agreed upon by SLLS and LSC. The grant term of our project is 7/1/2022-6/30/2025. The goals and objectives of the DLS project are below which our detailed Project Plan referenced in Attachment A fleshes out in more detail.

DLS Goals and Objectives:

  • Provide advice and legal representation to address disaster-related legal issues for low-income survivors.
    • Direct Services –Sustain and Increase Level of Direct Assistance through 30 essential disaster response staff
    • Provide training and support to disaster staff to facilitate their skills and ability to deliver direct legal assistance to disaster survivors
  • Enhance legal aid capabilities to better serve survivors of 2020-2021 declared disasters.
    • Improve SLLS’ disaster resilience through improved technology and software
    • Transition SLLS’ current case management system to a new case management system to better serve 2020-2021 disaster survivors
  • To provide outreach and education to the survivors of the 2020-2021 declared disasters.
    • Outreach and Community Education – Expand outreach and knowledge for survivors of the 2020 and 2021 disasters
    • Improve SLLS’ intake/outreach process to better serve disaster survivors.
    • Develop and implement an outreach plan using media and technology to ensure disaster survivors have access to legal services.

Adult Learning Content Developer (ALCD)

In the ALCD subcomponent of the DLS Project, the consultant will identify, collect, revise, create, design, test, and integrate resources into SLLS’ Learn Upon Learning Management System working in close collaboration with in-house staff subject matter experts (SME). This  work involves breaking down often complex concepts into fundamental pieces and weaving them into engaging learning segments to create learning modules that are easily understood and digested for use by legal aid staff and partners. Major duties in this subcomponent include:

  • Establish and maintain collaborative working relationships with staff, volunteers, and other key stakeholders
  • Facilitate engagement with stakeholders from multiple sectors and audiences
  • Coordinate resources and helping design learning pathways for the learning management system such as videos, power points, graphic design tools, and other resources
  • Work with SLLS staff to implement a testing and evaluation period for LMS resources
  • Collaborate closely and professionally with SME’s to ensure they provide content in a timely fashion and/or work with SME’s to revise already created content
  • Work with our LMS vendor to address and resolve any LMS issues
  • Implement instructional design best practices to create/revise SME content into well-organized, bite-sized chunks with the adult learner at the center
  • Create appropriate interactions in each lesson/module to keep staff engaged while learning for retention
  • Convene planning meetings with necessary SLLS staff and partners
  • Collect documentation for the project
  • Assisting in preparing a project plan and grant progress reports
  • Assist in making presentations to SLLS staff, volunteers, and partners as needed

Reporting Deadlines for DLS Grant

Progress and fiscal reports are due to the funder on the below schedule:

Reporting Period 7/1/2022-12/31/2022  -  Due 1/31/2023

Reporting Period 1/1/2023-6/30/2023    -  Due 7/31/2023

Reporting Period 7/1/2023-12/31/2023  -  Due 1/31/2024

Reporting Period 1/1/2024 – 6/30/2024  - Due 7/31/2024

Reporting Period 7/1/2024- 12/31/2024  - Due 1/31/2025

Reporting Period 1/1/2025-6/30/2025     - Due 7/31/2025

Cost

Interested consultants can submit a cost proposal on an hourly rate with an estimate of hours needed to complete tasks or by using a project based method. Please propose a payment schedule for your work under the project.

Inquiries/Contact Information

Questions about this RFP may be directed Laura Tuggle, SLLS Executive Director at (504) 529-1000 ext. 270 or ltuggle@slls.org.

Timeline

  • Issue RFP: 9/26/2022
  • Proposals Due to Executive Director: 10/23/2022
  • Award of Contract: 11/1/2022
  • Project Implementation: 11/01/2022-6/30/2025

Proposal Delivery and Due Date

Proposals are due on or before 10/26/2022. Delivery of proposals should be made electronically to Laura Tuggle at ltuggle@slls.org with “SLLS “DLS & ALCD Proposal” in the subject line. PDF is preferred. If you have large file size items, please provide a file sharing link with instructions for accessing the proposed materials.

Evaluation Criteria and Award of Contract

SLLS may elect to schedule a conference call with potential consultants prior to awarding a final contract. We anticipate conference calls will be scheduled between 10/25-10/26/2022. Please include contact information for scheduling purposes in the RFP.

Proposals will be evaluated upon the contractor’s responsiveness to the RFP, qualifications, demonstrated experience with similar projects, and total price quoted for all items covered by the RFP. Award of the contract resulting from the RFP will be based upon the most responsive contract that is most advantageous to SLLS in terms of cost, functionality, experience, and quality of past work.

SLLS ideally seeks a firm that understands its needs as a nonprofit and legal services organization and is invested in our mission of achieving justice and social change by fighting poverty.

SLLS reserves the right to accept or reject any and all proposals and to waive any minor discrepancies or technicalities in the proposal or specifications, when deemed to be in the best interest of SLLS. We also reserve the right to negotiate with all respondents to the RFP and reject any or all offers and discontinue this RFP process without obligation or liability to any respondent.

Cost of Proposals

SLLS will not pay any costs associated with preparing proposals in response to this RFP.

You can download this Request for Proposals here.

Request for Proposals - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant

Brief Overview

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) seeks the services of an independent diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consultant to assist it in implementing diversity, inclusion to increase employee engagement, and growth and cultural competency to better serve our clients.

Introduction to SLLS

SLLS provides free legal assistance to indigent and other vulnerable people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. We protect their livelihoods, health, housing and families.  Through legal representation, we are able to assure fairness for our clients as they navigate through the civil justice system. SLLS works to combat the inequities and disproportionate impacts faced by marginalized communities of color.

SLLS is the largest nonprofit civil legal services provider in Louisiana serving 50% of the state’s poverty population in twenty-two parishes across southeast Louisiana. Pre-pandemic, Louisiana had the third highest poverty rate in the United States, the second highest rate of women killed by their intimate partner, the highest rate of mass incarceration in the world disproportionately impacting marginalized communities, was consistently noted as one of the unhealthiest states, and had the second highest rate of food insecure seniors. We have been struck by ten presidentially declared natural disasters since 2005’s catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, and the people we serve have been particularly hard-hit by the impact of COVID-19 due to our economic reliance on the hospitality and oil and gas industries and Hurricane Ida.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and in the wake of Ida, SLLS has fought for the rights of vulnerable people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, provided safeguards to domestic violence survivors, protected the livelihood of disaster victims and assisted renters who were facing eviction.  SLLS has won significant appellate cases protecting thousands of vulnerable people through eviction defense and child in need of care work, and engaging in successful policy advocacy with government agencies administering housing assistance, child protection programs, and unemployment benefits.  Our 2021 case work for individual households resulted in over 30,000 people being helped through free legal aid to protect their lives, homes, and families with a direct economic impact to them through our work of over $28.5 million.

Pre-pandemic, SLLS has about 100 team members on staff. Since COVID, we have grown to have almost 175 employees, seven offices, staff embedded onsite with other partners such as hospitals, medical clinics, homeless shelters, domestic violence victim service centers, community colleges, and robust pro bono partnerships. We have almost 100 different funding sources though LSC funding is about 45% of our budget with another almost 30% from the Louisiana Bar Foundation. In response to the effects of COVID-19 on housing, we have hired 14 additional attorneys to represent people who are facing evictions.  We have also hired 15 new staff to represent vulnerable populations that are affected by disasters.

Request for Proposals

Purpose of RFP

SLLS seeks a consultant to assist it in creating a culture of inclusion and promote diversity within the organization. SLLS understands the importance of diversity and inclusion in an organization that provides legal services to vulnerable communities.  Our goal is to develop staff who are culturally competent and will practice empathy when interacting with underrepresented and underserved clients.

Deliverables

SLLS seeks a consultant to assist it in advancing practices that will attract, engage and retain diverse employees. We are seeking a consultant who will conduct quantitative and qualitative research, and immersive observation to discover any potential barriers to diversity and equality. We also are seeking assistance in providing training that includes interactive group training and diversity discussions which promote honesty about diversity and inclusion.  We are seeking training that fosters inclusion and behavioral change.  SLLS seeks to have a diversity consultant provide training and implement strategies to address and avoid unconscious and implicit biases.  We would also like the consultant to assist SLLS in fostering an environment that recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion within a legal aid organization internally and externally.   We further seek a consultant to assist the staff in identifying and addressing racial inequities that contribute to systemic poverty and disparate treatment.  We seek a consultant to facilitate and incorporate a plan to combat the racial issues facing vulnerable communities. We anticipate that the cost of services under this proposal will not exceed $25,000.

The SLLS Board of Directors Governance Committee will work with SLLS’ Executive team to select the Diversity consultant. Input will also be sought from our SLLS DEI Committee. Once selected, SLLS will designate a staff point person(s) for the consultant who will likely be Talya Bergeron, our Directing Attorney in our Baton Rouge office who is also our DEI Officer. We will work closely with the consultant to determine which SLLS staff and partners will be involved with the DEI plan and how best to obtain their input into the process. SLLS is committed to ongoing review of the plan to track progress in meeting plan objectives. The diversity plan will implement strategies to promote diversity, recognition and respect. We have established an internal SLLS Diversity Committee to assist with these efforts.

Inquiries/Contact Information

Questions about this RFP may be directed or Talya Bergeron, SLLS Directing Attorney/DEI Officer at tbergeron@slls.org or (225) 448-0080 or Laura Tuggle, SLLS Executive Director at (504) 529-1000 ext. 270 or ltuggle@slls.org .

Timeline

  • Issue RFP: 8/15/2022
  • Proposals Due to Executive Director: 9/15/2022
  • Award of Contract: 9/30/2022
  • Project Implementation: 10/1/2022-9/30/2023

Proposal Delivery and Due Date

Proposals are due on or before 9/16/2022. Delivery of proposals should be made electronically to Laura Tuggle at ltuggle@slls.org with “SLLS Diversity Planning Proposal” in the subject line, PDF preferred. If you have large file size items, please provide a file sharing link with instructions for accessing the proposed materials.

Evaluation Criteria and Award of Contract

SLLS may elect to schedule a conference call with potential consultants prior to awarding a final contract. We anticipate that conference calls will be scheduled between 9/20/2022-9/28/2022. Please include contact information for scheduling purposes in the RFP.

Proposals will be evaluated upon the contractor’s responsiveness to the RFP, qualifications, demonstrated experience with similar projects, and total price quoted for all items covered by the RFP. Award of the contract resulting from the RFP will be based upon the most responsive contract that is most advantageous to SLLS in terms of cost, functionality, experience, and quality of past work.

SLLS ideally seeks a firm that understands its needs as a nonprofit and legal services organization and is invested in our missions of achieving justice and social change by fighting poverty.

SLLS reserves the right to accept or reject any and all proposals and to waive any minor discrepancies or technicalities in the proposal or specifications, when deemed to be in the best interest of SLLS. We also reserve the right to negotiate with all respondents to the RFP and reject any or all offers and discontinue this RFP process without obligation or liability to any respondent.

Cost of Proposals

SLLS will not pay any costs associated with preparing proposals in response to this RFP.

You can download the request for proposals here.

Please take a few moments to respond to these quick surveys. Your responses are like a temperature check about today’s most pressing legal needs. SLLS will use this information to help determine what areas our community needs the most legal assistance in so people can get the most benefit from our services.

Each survey will take you two to three minutes.

General Legal Needs – The Big Picture 

Work Issues, Including Unemployment

Family Issues

Government Aid Issues

Housing Issues

Money & Debt Issues

On October 15, 2021 SLLS filed an intervention in a foreclosure action by Fannie Mae against five multifamily rental properties owned by LLC's controlled by Joshua Bruno of Metrowide Apartments. The purpose of the intervention is to support Fannie Mae's action to have the properties transferred to a third-party management company. SLLS's clients urge the Court to enforce the appointment of a new management company because the properties present imminent health and safety concerns due to years of deferred maintenance and mismanagement.

You can read the petition here.

A selection of photos included in the petition are below:

 

Squalid Living Conditions
Squalid Living Conditions
Squalid Living Conditions
Squalid Living Conditions
Squalid Living Conditions
Squalid Living Conditions

The Rural Summer Legal Corps helps address the access to justice crisis for people living in rural communities throughout the United States. The SLLS Rural Summer Legal Corps Student Fellow will assist SLLS in expanding access to justice in two rural parishes with some of the highest poverty rates in our service area.

The Fellow will engage in extensive community outreach with at least 16 government, nonprofit, and community stakeholders to raise awareness of how civil legal aid can help improve the lives of vulnerable community members. The Fellow will work to create a successful model of working with rural libraries, holding monthly legal clinics and Know Your Rights sessions on hot legal topics to increase access to civil legal aid.

The Fellow will be based out of our Hammond office, either virtually or in-person.

The application for the 2021 Rural Summer Legal Corps is available hereApplications for the program are due at 11:59 p.m. ET on February 8, 2021.