St. Paul’s area transformation project is now accepting RFQ Submission for People First Service Provider Network

People First empowered by Urban Strategies, Inc. (USI) is a human capital development program created to improve conditions of well-being for families directly impacted by the comprehensive redevelopment of the more than 200-acre neighborhood known as the St. Paul’s area of Norfolk. Tidewater Gardens is Phase 1 of this overall redevelopment plan. USI is seeking local organizations to join our comprehensive Service Provider Network. The Service Provider Network will collaborate to provide supportive services, programs, and/or initiatives, in the areas of 1) health and wellness; 2) employment, transportation, economic mobility; and/or 3) youth development and education which will advance equitable outcomes for the families of Tidewater Gardens involved in the People First Initiative.



The People First Initiative was created through a partnership between the City of Norfolk, the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA), residents and other stakeholders and is funded by the City. Urban Strategies, Inc. (USI) is the organizational lead for the implementation of this initiative. People First Empowered by USI will provide effective and high-quality mobility services and human capital investment to approximately 1,700 families from the Tidewater Gardens, Young Terrace, and Calvert Square public housing neighborhoods in the St. Paul’s area. The current RFQ is seeking qualified organizations who can deliver supportive services to meet the needs of the residents of Tidewater Gardens. Based on the review of the RFQ responses, USI intends to issue a Request for Proposals to Qualified Respondents who may then be invited to enter into a Contract(s) for provision of proposed services. In order to effectively achieve the desired outcomes and associated metrics for families within this community, USI is establishing a Service Provider Network to include a range of partners who will enable individuals and families to: 1) access services they want and need, and 2) contribute to achieving success in one or more of the following key service pillars as measured by the metrics identified (or similar) below:


HOUSING STABILITY – All individuals and families live in safe, stable housing that is affordable and well maintained.

# and % of households who remain stably housed

# and % of households receiving transportation that supports successful relocation in neighborhood of choice.


ECONOMIC MOBILITY – All able-bodied individuals will work for a living wage or be self-employed.

# and % of working-age, able-bodied adults employed

# and % of individuals retaining work for 180 days

# and % of households spending more than 1/3 of income on basic needs

# and % of households participating in 1:1 financial coaching and credit repair who have improved economic conditions.


HEALTH – All individuals and families will have good physical and mental health and be working towards healthy lifestyles.

# and % of target population that is insured

# and % population participating in trauma-reducing programs/ programs that help to build safety, mastery, and connection

# and % of residents who are connecting to appropriate health services

# and % of residents who are aware of trauma

# and % of residents who are connecting to appropriate health services.


EDUCATION – Children enter kindergarten ready to learn, are proficient in core academic subjects, and graduate from high school college/career ready.

# and % of Kindergarteners entering school with age-appropriate functioning to be considered “Ready to Learn”

Proficiency in Math & Reading for 3rd through 9th graders

High School graduation rate

# and % of target youth participating in positive youth development activities that demonstrate a positive outcome

# and % of youth who are not on grade level in reading and math who are connected to academic supports


View the Request for Qualifications here,

Urban Strategies, Inc., is the company selected to continue the implementation of People First services in the St. Paul's area.  USI hires from within the community.  For career opportunities, click here.


What is People First? People First is designed to help you and every person in your household reach their goals. People First will provide assistance in the areas of job training, education, housing, and health and wellness services.

The People First office for Tidewater Gardens are open at  447, 453 and 461 Walke Street. 

How Does It Work?

People First starts with a case manager who will be assigned to every family living in the Tidewater Gardens, Calvert Square and Young Terrace neighborhoods. The case manager will meet with each family individually to determine goals and create individualized plans for each family member, including children and seniors. Not everyone will receive a case manager at the same time; People First services will be phased in based on the overall neighborhood plan. The plan will offer assistance in the areas of job training and education, housing and health and wellness services.

What Are The Services?

People First – Job Training and Education

Will provide employment preparation and training for jobs, assistance in finding a job, and on-going counseling designed to help you be successful in the workplace. We will develop programs for residents with little to no work experience connect to job openings, and families already working to move up to jobs with higher pay. We will invest deeply in training, skills needed to keep a job, and continued support.

People First – Housing

Will provide assistance to make it easier for you and your family to connect to quality housing based on your family’s needs. As you know, you have choices. You can decide to move to new housing outside of the St. Paul’s area using a housing choice voucher. You can move to another public housing community. Or you can stay and become a part of the renewed St. Paul’s area. We will provide support no matter your choice.

If you decide to move with a housing choice voucher, we will help you find a home, apply for and secure that home, work with your landlord and property manager, and develop an early alert system to help you should you experience a crisis. If you want to stay in the St. Paul’s area, we will help you reach this goal and work with you through the transition. We will also work with families who desire to become homeowners through NRHA’s Family Self-Sufficiency program or FSS.

People First – Health and Wellness Services

Will provide comprehensive health services, mental health services, life skills training, childcare, transportation, financial planning, youth education and academic support, career pathways, parenting classes and other services as necessary based on family and individual needs.

How Do I Get Started?

Our goal is to start People First in the summer of 2019. In the meantime, our faith partners and others will help us engage you in some programs already available, such as Bank On, which teaches budgeting and managing your money; classes on the “ins and outs” of housing choice vouchers; and employment related skill building, such as how to write a resume, and how to prepare for an interview. We also want to encourage use of the Real ID program, which helps you get the required identification needed for housing and employment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will all of the residents in Tidewater Gardens, Calvert Square and Young Terrace have to move out at the same time, or will people move out in phases?


Move-out and demolition/rebuild will be done in phases.  Tidewater Gardens is the first public housing community to move because of the tremendous flooding in the area and the impact to residents.  The HUD Choice Neighborhood Initiative Grant was applied for Tidewater Gardens.  We are a finalist, and if we are awarded the grant, it will provide $30 million towards rebuilding that community.  Within each community phase, there are also phases.  187 families are in phase one of the Tidewater Gardens move.


   2.   If Tidewater Gardens moves first, who’s next?  How long will it take before all residents have moved from the St. Paul’s area?  


All requests for phased redevelopment of public housing must be approved by HUD. The current thinking regarding the phased redevelopment sequencing, subject to further community engagement and discussions, is that vacating and clearing of units would begin with Tidewater Gardens, followed by Young Terrace, and then followed by Calvert Square.


A CNI award provides approval to begin relocation and demolition of Tidewater Gardens.  If CNI is not awarded, NRHA must apply to HUD through a separate process to receive permission to begin relocation and demolition. The timeline on that process is unknown at this time.  If CNI is awarded, a grant agreement would be put in place over the next couple of months and the earliest notification from HUD to families residing in the first phase of Tidewater Gardens would occur sometime in the summer of 2019.   Demolition of the first phase of Tidewater Gardens would occur in early 2020.  

During the 2020 Annual Plan period (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021), NRHA would plan to seek NRHA board approval to proceed with the submission of a phased demolition application for the Young Terrace community. Approval from HUD and the initial notification of families residing in the first phase of Young Terrace would occur in the summer of 2021. The phased demolition application for the Calvert Square community would be proposed in the 2023 Annual Plan process (July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024). Approval from HUD and the initial notification of families residing in the first phase of Calvert Square would occur in the summer of 2024. Demolition of the first phase of Calvert Square would occur in early 2025.    If approved by the NRHA Board of Commissioners and HUD, relocation and transformation would occur throughout all three communities until all phases are complete.

While the beginning of the redevelopment process in the three communities is anticipated to be staggered, the work in each community is expected to take place over ten years or more, resulting in concurrent activities once each community begins.


This is a very fluid schedule and is subject to change depending on a variety of factors including financing, community support, etc.


   3.  We were told People First would be ready in 2018, but no company has been hired yet. When can we expect People First services?

The People First initiative began in August 2018 when we announced the first move-out phase in Tidewater Gardens.  People First is the umbrella term for all transformative services being provided to residents.  Some of the services are already being provided.  These services are customized for each resident/family and participation is completely voluntary.

The current RFP seeks vendor(s) to manage the overall program, build additional staffing capacity and/or provide additional services, for example, mobility services or family coaching, to name a few.  The RFP for People First Services were modified to better fit the needs of the community.  New proposals are due March 6.  These proposals will be reviewed and interviews will begin.  The award by April with implementation to begin late summer.


   4.   What is Norfolk doing right now to provide individual help for people in the St. Paul’s area?

As previously stated, People First launched in August 2018 when we announced the first move-out phase.  187 Tidewater Gardens families were provided a personal point of contact who were connecting residents with services.  Workshops in the community began on a variety of topics as well.   A People First team of Department of Human Services caseworkers is working with families to conduct assessments of individual family needs, connecting those families and individuals to services if they were not already receiving support and mapping out plans to achieve specific goals.

It’s not just city staff.  United Way is a People First partner and providing confidential tracking software for service and outcomes in addition to financial support for coaching.

As part of the City’s BankOn program, a customized BankOn program was created specifically for Tidewater Gardens residents focusing on budgeting and credit repair (70 residents participating in first class – 6 month program).  We have also provided workshops on how to be “Rent Ready” and Housing Choice Vouchers – How They Work.  These programs and others will continue and be incorporated into the work of the People First contractor once they are on board.  The goal is to make a seamless transition. 


The People First office for Tidewater Gardens opened on Friday, March 1 at 447, 453 and 461 Walke Street. Hours are 8:30A-5P Monday-Friday. Residents can also find out information by calling our People First hotline – 314-2000; emailing us at, visiting our Facebook page; or our website

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