Haywood Co. Flood: Emergency Update 1, Rental Assistance

Emergency Section 8 vouchers are income-based and are available for Haywood County residents displaced by the flood.
Please help Mountain Projects reach those who have been displaced by the flood caused by tropical storm Fred. If you or someone you know need emergency rental assistance, Mountain Projects has opened the application process to flood victims only. Call 828-452-1447 to receive assistance over the telephone, or follow this link:

Request for Cost Estimate: Engineering Services

Description of Project: Mountain Projects, Inc.  Located in Waynesville, NC, is soliciting cost estimates for Architectural/Engineering Services for a 5.97 acre single family development. 

Property: Off Harkins Avenue Canton, NC 28716 PIN 8647-83-7739

The scope of work may include but is not limited to the following:

  • Site Plan
  • Compaction Report
  • Timeline of Development Phases 
  • Wetland/ Stream Delineation
  • Phase 1 Environmental & 3D Geotechnical Exploration
  • Soil Sample
  • Infrastructure, Property Layout & Project Feasibility
    • Grading & drainage plans
    • Road design including NCDOT (Ingress & Egress)
    • Water & sewer design
    • Stormwater retention/ detention design
    • Preliminary parking and off-street loading layouts
    • Opinion of costs for infrastructure 

Applicants should have experience in educational design and be familiar with all pertinent codes and regulations. Mountain Projects, Inc. is seeking creative and economical design solutions that incorporate energy-efficient features. 

Cost Estimates may be hand delivered, emailed, or mailed to Mountain Projects Inc., 2177 Asheville Road, Waynesville, NC 28786. Cost estimates must be received by June 14, 2021.

Property is under contract and all work must be completed and reviewed by Mountain Projects, Inc. prior to the end of the due diligence period 08-18-21.

Questions regarding the RFQ should be addressed to the SMHP Executive Director, at the above address, Attn: Heather Boyd Phone (828) 452-1447 or emailed to: hboyd@mountainprojects.org 

A contract will be negotiated with the most qualified firm(s) at a compensation which is stable, fair, and reasonable to Mountain Projects, Inc.

Proposals: Mountain Projects, Inc. reserves the right to select the firm(s) which it deems to offer the best overall proposal taking into consideration all factors such as (a) past performance; (b) qualifications of professional personnel proposed for the project; (c) location and size; (d) recent, current, and projected workloads of the firm; and (e) related experience on similar projects.

 

Letter from the Director: Spring 2021

Dear Friends of Mountain Projects,

Our intent with this Spring newsletter is to express our appreciation and reflect the impact that your December donations have made in the midst of the pandemic.

We saw a lot of suffering as the effects of Covid unfolded in our community, and we’ve been anxious to see what the winter quarter would bring. As springtime arrives we’re getting a clearer picture of what’s ahead, and please know that we, along with our clients, are immensely grateful for every contribution we received.

We’ve extended quite a few helping hands through the generosity of our contributors.

I want to share a note from one of our clients, to help you understand the value of your donations: “Thank you! We had nowhere else to turn. If it weren’t for Mountain Projects, my family would be living without power in our home, or even worse, evicted by the end of the month. Please thank your staff and the people who support your nonprofit. We never thought we would be in this situation and you all came through in the nick of time. From our hearts, thank you.”

At Mountain Projects, we know this story all too well. As a community action agency serving Haywood and Jackson counties, it’s our mission to provide stabilizing solutions for people with serious unmet needs: food, shelter, early childhood education, healthcare, substance misuse prevention and transportation – the basic building blocks that make a stable life. 

People often ask me who we serve and I always tell them this: our clients are just like you and me or our elderly parents or family members. We serve regular folks who are experiencing rough times. The truth is, everyone needs situational help at some time in their lives, and because Mountain Projects offers a diversity of services, we can step up when others can’t. A second truth is that we couldn’t do it without you.

Your generosity supports critical needs in our communities, just when our friends, family members and neighbors need it most.

With gratitude,

Patsy Davis, Executive Director

pdavis@mountainprojects.org

Community Success Story: Kayla Cothern

By the time Kayla Cothern graduated from Haywood Community College in May, 2021, she was all set to put her Associate of Science degree in Nursing to work: she’d already accepted a full-time nursing position with a local employer.

Here’s what Kayla said about her experience with the Federal program, WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act), and the Finish Line Grant, through the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

“As a single mother of two little girls, I doubted time and time again that I could possibly make it through nursing school on my own. There were many trials and errors along the way, with finances being one of the major struggles.”

“I was not aware of WIOA and the Finish Line Grant until my third semester. However, although I was well into my nursing school experience, WIOA helped me more than I can ever say or repay. Not only did WIOA help me pay for my schooling, but also reimbursed me for gas used to and from training.”

“The Finish Line Grant helped me pay my rent and utilities. These two services alleviate some of the stress for struggling students so that they can get through school and continue on to a successful career. Again, I cannot thank enough the people who have helped me along the way. A huge thanks to Maggie (Leftwich, case manager, NCWorks Career Center, Haywood County) for all that she has done to help me though.”

,

Dogwood Health Trust Invests in Affordable Housing through SMHP, Mountain Projects

From Dogwood Health Trust

Asheville, N.C. – Dogwood Health Trust announced today its investment in affordable housing in Haywood and Jackson Counties. A grant made to Mountain Projects will go to support their affordable housing division, Smoky Mountain Housing Partnership, in their efforts to increase affordable homeownership opportunities and increase access to affordable rental units over the next two to five years. The grant will also catalyze a homeownership center that will serve counties throughout the region.

Mountain Projects is one of the original community action agencies formed in 1965 under President Johnson’s War on Poverty. Smoky Mountain Housing Partnership (SMHP) was formed in 2019 as the affordable housing division of Mountain Projects with offices in Waynesville and Sylva. Their mission is to advocate for and create opportunities for workforce housing. SMHP strives to assist residents in their service area through programs that include financial literacy, down payment help, rental assistance, credit counseling, and home purchasing.

According to SMHP Executive Director Heather Boyd, the terrain in Haywood and Jackson Counties makes buildable land scarce, and as a result, more expensive. “Support like this from Dogwood Health Trust allows us to jumpstart a few key projects and leverage funds from other sources,” said Boyd. “We anticipate being able to secure an additional $2.4M from state and federal sources as a result of this grant.”

Specific elements that the $872,671 grant will support include hiring additional housing counselors, covering acquisition and pre-development expenses on housing developments, being able to offset infrastructure and rising materials costs, and expansion of affordable rental opportunities. “The team at Smoky Mountain Housing Partnership knows their communities and they understand the constraints that prevent a family from owning a home,” said Sarah Grymes, Dogwood’s Vice President of Impact Investing for Housing​. “They also share Dogwood’s commitment to address the disadvantages created by a lack of affordable housing. It’s our great honor to walk alongside them and to provide support to see real change take place in these counties.”

Boyd notes that with the grant funding from Dogwood, SMHP will be able to catalyze their homeownership center, ultimately serving over 400 families over the next two years. “The right housing counselor has the potential to have significant impact in a person’s life,” said Boyd. “Their efforts with a client can create generational impact because they’re doing more than just helping them buy a house; they’re helping them see the bigger picture and instill values that will last a lifetime.” HUD certified housing counselors often work with clients on budgeting, meal planning, credit counseling, and foundational life skills that can positively impact their likelihood of homeownership.

To find out more about the services offered through the Smoky Mountain Housing Partnership, visit smokymountainhousing.org or call 828-452-1447. 

Mountain Projects | Request for Proposal

RFP 2021 – WEB HOSTING AND MAINTENANCE

Scope of Work

Mountain Projects, Inc.,

Mountain Projects, Inc. is seeking proposals for a contractor to provide two years of web hosting, troubleshooting/maintenance, training and web development services as it relates to agency websites: Mountainprojects.org, SmokyMountainHousing.org, GetCoveredWNC.com, Haywoodtransit.com and others. 

It is our agency’s intent to streamline technical services and increase online capacity, to make our programs and products more readily accessible through our online presence, and to effectively tell the story of Mountain Projects.

Mountain Projects has a content development and design team in place, and the chosen provider will collaborate with this team and the staff at Mountain Projects to develop and achieve the organization’s online goals.

These sites are built or are transitioning to WordPress and it is important that respondents to this RFP demonstrate capacity in WordPress. Each site has individual technical needs and specific work plans are under development. The chosen contractor should provide answers to the questions below. The chosen service provider should expect to charge a monthly fee for basic services with an hourly rate for expansion projects. Some web development projects will require an estimate of costs in advance of the work.

All proposals must be completed and submitted electronically and marked “RFP for Website Services” in the subject line, no later than Friday, April 30 at 12:01pm EST.

Inquiries & Proposal Submissions

All inquiries and proposal submissions related to this RFP should be submitted to Angeline Schwab, news@mountainprojects.org and Patsy Davis, pdavis@mountainprojects.org.

Proposal Requirements

All submissions will be accepted electronically. Proposals should be specific in terms of price and experience to allow Mountain Projects to evaluate and compare the qualifications and costs compared to other respondents. Proposals should include the following information and any other information and data you believe should be or desire to be considered in the selection process:

  •   Service Packaging (Please describe)        
  •   Web hosting per month                          
  •   Web Development Costs by the Hour if needed                    
  •   Support Calls Costs                        
  •   Cost of additional bandwidth when/if needed                                 
  •   Training Costs (Support)                         
  •   Module/Widget Updates (Support)                                  
  •   E-commerce/Donations module description (Support)
  •   Connection to Newsletter Software
  •   Annual aggregated costs 
  •   SEO Services
  •   Security of data, website 

Please submit the following information with your proposal

  1. Basic Business Information
    • Provide a short description of your company. Describe any concepts, techniques and management tools you intend to utilize in managing this project. (For example, how do you manage communications and timelines with your clients?)
    • Your company’s size and location
    • Number of years in operation
    • Specific references of other website update/re-design projects you’ve completed in the last two years
    • Names and professional specialties of all individuals on the team who will be responsible for this project. Include information that highlights their qualifications and expertise.
    • Name of a single point of contact who will manage the working relationship with Mountain Projects Communications Staff.
  1.   Training: Submit a short description on how you will provide training on use of the websites to Mountain Projects Staff.
  1.   Technical Information: Please describe a preferred website hosting scenario, your experience with WordPress, specific software usage and network protocols.
  1.   Fees: Please provide these fees for services in an Excel worksheet. Include or attach any price-packaging descriptions.

Mountain Projects is interested in receiving information about other content and/or feature options your company can provide that are not included in the list above. Mountain Projects encourages respondents to submit their ideas and to propose alternative recommendations, but with specific costs associated with such upgrades.  

Evaluation of Proposals will be quantified as follows:
Proposals will be evaluated by staff against the following criteria: Total possible points for each evaluation criteria
1 Response to the RFP 15
2 Costs 20
3 Demonstrated competence and professional qualifications necessary for scope of work 20
4 Experience in content management website construction 10
5 Ability to attend in-person meetings,(with covid precautions) if needed, within a 24-hour period 10
6 References that illuminate track record of providing excellent customer service 10
7 Availability of services between services agreement execution and April 2023 15
  Total Points 100


General Summary of Work for the Mountain Project Websites

Mountainprojects.org: Hosting, implementation of new designs; newsletter, database and ecommerce software solutions, module and widget updates, structural changes to navigation when needed.

SmokyMountainHousing.org: Hosting, implementation of new designs; newsletter, database and ecommerce software solutions, module and widget updates, structural changes to navigation when needed.

Mountainstrongwnc.org: Currently under contract with another provider. 

GetCoveredWNC.com: Hosting, implementation of new designs; newsletter, database and ecommerce software solutions, module and widget updates, structural changes to navigation when needed.

HaywoodSeniors.org: Currently under contract with another provider. 

Haywoodtransit.com: Hosting, implementation of new designs; newsletter, database and ecommerce software solutions, module and widget updates, structural changes to navigation when needed. Potential opportunity for implementing transportation scheduling software.

Other websites as needed.

Content Components

Content will be provided by staff and/or developed with the assistance of Buris Chalmers Creative and the selected consultant. All features of the Mountain Projects website must be easy to manage and updatable by non-technical staff.

 Project Schedule

The following schedule is tentative and subject to change, but is being provided to give respondents an idea of the timeframes for this project.
April 15, 2021 – RFP available to prospective web development businesses

April 30, 2021 – Responses due no later than 12:01 PM EST (Please submit to news@mountainprojects.org and pdavis@mountainprojects.org

May 14, 2021 – Review of responses will begin

May 28, 2021 – Selection announced

 

Smoky Mountain Housing Partnership | Request for Qualifications

Request for Qualifications

Architectural/Engineering Services

Description of Project: Mountain Projects, Inc.  located in Waynesville, NC, is soliciting proposals for Architectural/Engineering Services for a 40.5-acre purpose-built community. The building projects may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Single-Family Housing
  • Multi-Family Housing 
  • Mixed Use Community Facilities 
  • Green Space

The scope of work includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Site Plan
  • Compaction Report
  • Timeline of Development Phases 
  • Appraisal
  • Wetland Delineation
  • Phase 1 Environmental & Geotechnical Exploration
  • Soil Sample
  • Infrastructure, Property Layout & Project Feasibility
    • Grading & drainage plans
    • Road design including NCDOT (Ingress & Egress)
    • Water & sewer design
    • Stormwater retention/ detention design
    • Preliminary parking and off-street loading layouts
    • Opinion of costs for infrastructure 

 

Applicants should have experience in educational design and be familiar with all pertinent codes and regulations. Mountain Projects, Inc. is seeking creative and economical design solutions that incorporate energy-efficient features. 

Each response is to provide information which will allow evaluation of the following:

  1. Past performance.
  2. Qualifications of professional personnel proposed for the project.
  3. Demonstrated ability to meet time and budget requirements.
  4. Location and size of firm, now and 5 years ago.
  5. Recent, current, and projected workloads of the firm.
  6. Creativity and insight related to the project.
  7. Related experience on similar projects.

 

Qualifications may be hand delivered, emailed, or mailed to Mountain Projects Inc., 2177 Asheville Road, Waynesville, NC 28786.

Proposals must be received no later than 5:00 pm on April 22, 2021.

Questions regarding the RFQ should be addressed to the SMHP Construction Supervisor, at the above address, Attn: Joey Massie Phone (828) 452-1447 or emailed to: jmassie@mountainprojects.org 

 

A contract will be negotiated with the most qualified firm(s) at a compensation which is stable, fair, and reasonable to Mountain Projects, Inc., If a satisfactory contract cannot be negotiated with any of the ranked firm(s), this RFQ shall be considered terminated.

Proposals: Mountain Projects, Inc. reserves the right to select the firm(s) which it deems to offer the best overall proposal taking into consideration all factors such as (a) past performance; (b) qualifications of professional personnel proposed for the project; (c) location and size; (d) recent, current, and projected workloads of the firm; and (e) related experience on similar projects.

This RFQ is made for information and planning purposes only. Mountain Projects, Inc. does not intend to award a contract solely based on any response made to this request or otherwise pay for the information solicited or obtained. Mountain Projects, Inc., will be the judge as to whether a proposal has or has not met the requirements of this RFQ.

Acceptance of Proposal Content: The contents of the proposal of the successful firm(s) may become part of the contractual obligations if a contract ensues. Failure of a successful firm(s) to accept these obligations may result in cancellation of the award.

Economy of Preparation: Proposals should be prepared simply and economically, providing a straightforward, concise description of the firm’s ability to meet the requirements of the RFQ. Emphasis should be on completeness and clarity of content.

Firm Responsibilities: The selected firm(s) will be required to assume responsibility for all services offered in its proposal whether it produces them. Firm(s) shall be responsible to adhere to all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and ordinances, etc., and if the request for proposal results in a contract award, selected firm(s) shall be responsible for obtaining all necessary permits and variances.

 

,

We, Mountain Projects: Karen Chambers

Karen Chambers, a folk artist (Thosekookychickens.com) lives in Highlands and thought it impossible to afford insurance as a self-employed person. She saw an Affordable Care Act flyer in the post office, though, and recognized the insurance counselor’s name, Cynthia Solsbee, as a friend of hers in the community.

“My husband Tim and I are self-employed artists and don’t make a whole lot of money, so insurance felt out of reach before I signed up for Obamacare,” Chambers says.

Thankfully, she did, because soon after, Karen had a heart attack that could’ve taken her life if she hadn’t sought immediate treatment. “If I didn’t have insurance, I would have felt reluctant to go to the hospital when I needed help. I’m grateful for Cynthia and Mountain Projects for ensuring that I could take care of myself.”