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Small Business Resource Guide -
Chapter 3 -
The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization

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The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) was created as part of the Small Business Act, as amended by Public Laws 95-507 and 100-507. Every Federal agency is required to have an OSDBU, which, by statute, reports directly to the head of the agency. A listing of Federal Agency OSDBUs is provided in Appendix A of this guide. The primary responsibility of the OSDBU is to ensure that small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses (SDB), women-owned businesses (WOB), businesses located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone), and small businesses owned by service-disabled Veterans, are treated fairly and that they have an opportunity to compete and be selected for a fair amount of the agency's contract dollars. HUD is committed to ensuring that small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses and businesses owned by women and service disabled veterans, as well as businesses located in HUBZones participate fully in HUD direct contracting as well as in subcontracting opportunities generated by HUD prime contracts.

A major OSDBU initiative is outreach. OSDBU staff respond to letters, faxes, internet and phone inquiries to answer basic questions and provide information on new initiatives, recent changes to small business programs and policies, and HUD contracting opportunities. The OSDBU staff also provides guidance to small businesses on HUD programs and regulations and issues such as assisting in resolving late payments, penalty wavers, or unfair treatment. The staff also attends and exhibits at small business conferences, making presentations on small business contracting opportunities and providing one on one guidance to conference participants. While the majority of contracting data are included on the HUD home page, the OSDBU staff also attempts to maintain a dialogue with trade associations, small business associations and small business, women-owned and minority chambers of commerce through periodic mailings which inform them of upcoming procurement opportunities and events which impact on small business.

OSDBU and HUD's Office of Procurement and Contracts have developed extensive information for HUD's small business/contracting opportunities web pages. HUD's web pages contain valuable information on how to do the business with HUD, current requests for bids and proposals, upcoming contracting and subcontracting opportunities, and links to related Web sites at the Small Business Administration and other Federal agencies. HUD's webpage is located at the following URL: http://www.hud.gov.

In addition, the OSDBU page on the HUD website provides multiple contracting links, information on how well HUD and other Federal agencies have performed in small business and minority contracting, and a list of trade associations and advocacy groups. The OSDBU web page also contains a list of all prime contractors who have indicated they will be subcontracting work. These prime contractors have promised to meet certain small business contracting goals when they were awarded their contracts so they are very interested in hearing from qualified small, SDB, WOB and HUBZone businesses. The HUD OSDBU web site URL is: http://www.hud.gov/offices/osdbu/index.fcm

The OSDBU also serves as the Department's Small Business Liaison for small business regulatory compliance information as required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA). The SBREFA requires that before an agency issues a regulation, it must make a determination as to whether the regulation will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small businesses. If a regulation will have such an impact, the agency must conduct a more in-depth economic analysis of the impact and solicit and review alternative implementation strategies which could mitigate the impact. When a Final Rule is published which does have an economic impact on small business, it must be accompanied by a "Compliance Guide" which is intended to provide a "plain English" explanation of the regulation with instructions on who to contact if a small business has additional questions.

The SBREFA also requires that in taking any enforcement action, such as an audit, inspection or compliance review, a small business must be informed of its right to comment to the National Small Business Ombudsman if it believes the action is unfair. The toll free telephone number is 1-800-REG-FAIR.

In addition, the SBREFA requires that agencies take into account the size of a business, its ability to pay and any mitigating circumstances in assessing penalties. See Chapter 8 for a further discussion of HUD's SBREFA program. For information on the Small Business Administration's implementation of the program nationally, access the SBA Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman home page at http://www.sba.gov/ombudsman/

In addition to ensuring that small businesses have an opportunity to compete for a fair share of HUD direct contracts, the OSDBU wants to make sure that small, minority, women-owned, HUDZone and small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans are aware of the contracting opportunities generated by HUD grants and assisted projects. HUD provides over $10 billion in funds annually to state and local governments and public and Indian housing authorities. Approximately one-half of the funds may subsequently be contracted out. Grantees are encouraged to take necessary affirmative action steps to ensure that small, minority-owned and women-owned small business are solicited and used when ever possible when contracting opportunities arise. Programs with substantial funding are listed along with examples of frequently contracted services.

  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program - HUD provides block grants to states, metropolitan cities and urban counties. Eligible activities include but are not limited to: acquiring real property and land, making improvements to property and land, rehabilitating housing, building facilities, redeveloping environmentally contaminated industrial sites (Brownfields), conducting job training, providing public services, assisting low-income homebuyers through financial assistance programs, using HUD Section 108 Loan Guarantees for loans to local businesses, providing tax credit for Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community businesses, etc. Contracting opportunities frequently include general construction, renovation materials, heavy equipment, plumbing supplies, landscaping services, administrative supplies, etc.
  • Public and Indian Housing Capital Funds - HUD provides Capital Fund grants to public and Indian housing authorities. The funds are allocated by formula and are used to improve the physical condition and to upgrade the management and operation of public housing and Indian Housing developments. Contracting opportunities frequently include demolition, construction, rehabilitation, maintenance, energy conservation, heating oil, financial management services, social and community services for residents' needs, etc.
  • Supportive Housing for the Elderly and the Persons with Disabilities - HUD provides capital advances to non-profit organizations. The funds are used to finance the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing with supportive services for the elderly and persons with disabilities. Contracting opportunities frequently include construction, maintenance services, building materials, etc.

See Chapter 5, Contracts Generated by HUD Grantees, for a detailed discussion of contracting opportunities including specific web site referrals.

For further information on Small Business Programs at HUD, you may write to:

U.S. Department of HUD
Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
451 Seventh Street, Room 3130 (SS)
Washington, DC 20410-1000

Please visit the OSDBU Home Page at http://www.hud.gov/offices/osdbu/index.cfm.

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