FirstPic, Inc. provided coordination, implementation, and technical assistance for HUD’s Public and Indian Housing Information and Resource Center (PIH IRC). The PIH IRC was established to serve as an information management and technical support resource to each of the Office of Public and Indian Housing program offices. These offices include: the Office of Public Housing and Voucher Programs; the Office of Field Operations; the Office of Policy, Programs and Legislative Initiatives; the Real Estate Assessment Center; the Grants Management Center; the Office of Administration/Budget; and the Office of Native American Programs.
The PIH IRC provided both a toll-free number and email information and referral services to HUD staff, PHAs, and TDHEs, as well as to a diverse group of stakeholders such as public and Indian housing residents and the general public.
Over the course of this contract, FirstPic, Inc. has provided the following services:
- Support for the development of materials that complement the information management and technical support mission of the PIH IRC.
- Training material and technical assistance support to PIH program offices and program initiatives.
- Research, writing/editing, and production of three monthly (EcoWise, Public Housing Management, and The Resident) and one quarterly (Housing Choice Voucher) PIH newsletters.
- Warehouse, fulfillment, and inventory management services.
- Editing and update of departmental fact sheets and guidebooks to include new regulations and guidance.
- Administrative and program support to the PIH Grants Management Center, such as application storage, inquiry responses, and debriefings.
Under previous PIH IRC contracts, FirstPic, Inc. also provided a wide range of services for the following subtasks:
Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Option Activities. Staff recruited lenders, developers, and other real estate professionals; developed training materials, a guidebook, and website; and provided on-site assistance for trainers and facilitators at HUD-sponsored HCV Homeownership Option regional trainings to recruit lenders. We also created and published marketing materials for use at homeownership-related conferences.
Asset Management. Staff provided PIH with policy support as it planned for transition to asset management. This support included providing recommendations on the streamlining rule, revisions to 24 CFR 965, the PHA Annual Plan, and the publication Preparing for Asset Management Under the New Public Housing Operating Fund Rule: A Planning Document. Using PIC and asset management data, FirstPic, Inc. provided analysis that identified the number of PHAs per field office that would gain or lose subsidy under the new Operating Fund rules. We also planned and hosted a series of workshops titled Asset Management Leadership Training. Additionally, FirstPic, Inc. conducted research and analysis to identify how statutory and regulatory equal opportunity policies and procedures (including wait lists, preferences, designated housing, deconcentration, affirmatively furthering fair housing, and Section 504) would impact the transition to asset management as well as made recommendations regarding how to best address these impacts.
Energy Conservation Activities. FirstPic, Inc. edited and managed production of the monthly e-newsletter for the Public Housing Energy Conservation Clearinghouse (PHECC) and assisted PIH with data analysis of HOPE VI Energy Star Usage and Energy Performance Contracts (EPC), Integrated Pest Management White Paper. FirstPic, Inc. also assisted with the development of the following materials to help guide HUD policy: Air Conditioning in Public Housing, Energy Policy Reform Working Paper, and EPC Reviews. (See below for additional detail on data analysis projects.)
Hurricane Emergency Support. As part of HUD’s relief efforts after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, FirstPic, Inc. expanded its call center operations within four hours of HUD’s request from weekdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., to seven days a week, 12 hours a day. FirstPic, Inc. maintained this emergency expanded schedule from September through December 2005.
Designated Housing Plans Reviews. FirstPic, Inc. provided analysis and technical support on the review of Designated Housing Plans (DHP). FirstPic, Inc. was responsible for analyzing PHA DHPs to establish completion and compliance with statutory requirements. FirstPic, Inc. identified plan deficiencies, made recommendations to HUD, and negotiated with PHAs regarding corrective actions. FirstPic, Inc. drafted the DHP Guidebook and revised HUD’s DHP tracking system. FirstPic, Inc. staff also was instrumental in drafting content for the DHP website and providing ongoing training and technical assistance to HUD staff on DHP review.
Housing Choice Voucher PIC Analysis. FirstPic, Inc. collaborated with HUD Headquarters and the Financial Management Center to implement new HCV funding provisions resulting from the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2005. FirstPic, Inc. analyzed VMS and PUC data, new HCV increments, and PHA transfers to determine the final funding amounts for PHA housing assistance payments and administrative fees.
HOPE VI Energy Star. Over two years, FirstPic, Inc. surveyed 10 percent of the national inventory of HOPE VI construction projects on energy conservation measures taken or planned to encourage use of energy-conscious construction and Energy Star appliances and equipment. FirstPic, Inc. designed the prototype survey, tracked the incoming responses, and wrote a factsheet and analysis based on responses.
Energy Performance Contracts. FirstPic, Inc. developed and distributed a questionnaire and collected data to determine the number of approved requests for proposals and energy services agreements, incentives involved, physical improvements, project investment, project cash flow, energy services companies, project status, and conservation measures applied. FirstPic, Inc. uploaded and analyzed the submitted data and produced reports for HUD.
Systems Experience. FirstPic, Inc. is familiar with a range of PIH financial systems, having provided data analysis using information from PIH’s data systems (MTCS, IBS, PIC, LOCCS and HUDCAPS). Areas of analysis have included PHA operations (including occupancy, security, energy consumption, maintenance, utility benchmark, general management, and procurement), Residence Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) program, HCV, Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, Rental Housing Integrity Improvement Program and Rental Integrity Monitoring (RHIIP/RIM), the Capital Fund program, Operating Fund, and the HOPE VI program.
Senior Housing Information Center. FirstPic, Inc. provided support for the Senior Housing Information Center, part of the PIH IRC. The Senior Housing Information Center offered technical assistance and referral services to PHAs or TDHEs with an interest in modernizing or constructing elderly public housing. FirstPic, Inc. provided this service through a toll-free number and dedicated email address.