Notes from 7/27 bidders’ conference for CoC FY16 RFP

The CoC held a bidders’ conference on July 27 regarding the CoC FY16 RFP. The following notes reflect the questions and answers from the meeting.

Leverage

  1. Q: Is it true that there is not a need to demonstrate and document leverage this year? A: Yes, that is true. Applications do not ask any questions about leverage, and there are no competition points associated with leverage.
  1. Q: Do we expect that this will be true in future years? A: HUD has not provided guidance about leverage in future years. However, the emphasis on leverage has lessened each year over a course of several years, which seems to indicate that HUD is no longer considering this a policy priority.

Match

  1. Q: Please clarify match rules. A: All projects must provide match for 25% of all costs, except for leasing costs.  Match can be cash or in-kind, but can only be counted if it is for program activities that are eligible for funding with CoC Program funds. Letters showing evidence of match must be submitted to the City Office of Housing by the CoC RFP application deadline of August 12, 2016 at 4:00 pm.
  1. Q: Can participant rents be counted toward the match requirement? A: Yes. On April 21, 2006, HUD released guidance which makes clear that program income (including participant rents) can count as match for grants awarded in the FY15 or FY16 competitions. For existing grants awarded in the FY14 competition, participant rents may not count toward the match requirement. There is no guidance as to whether rents will be able to be counted a s match after the FY16 competition.

Expansion of Existing Projects

  1. Q: How can an existing project apply for more funds to serve an expanded number of participants? Is this applied for as an increase in the renewal application, or a new application? A: For an existing project to request new funds to enable the project to serve more people, the project must complete a new application for the new funds, and also submit a renewal application for the existing project.
  1. Q: If a renewal and an expansion grant are both funded, can they be consolidated? A: Yes, multiple grants for the same project can be consolidated at a later time, after initial grants are awarded.
  1. Q: The answer to number 5 seems to be in conflict with the message about expansion that has been provided to grantees about the need to spend out rental assistance funds, and that one way to make sure these funds are fully spent is to expand the number of participants served. A: Existing grantees who have unspent funds may use the unspent funds in an existing grant to serve more people. The difference for these programs is that they have already been awarded the funds. Question 5 concerns programs seeking to increase the amount of funds they receive.

Ranking and Tiering

  1. Q: If a program was placed in Tier 2 for the 2015 Competition, should we expect that it will be placed in Tier 2 in the 2016 Competition? A: No. Tiering is redone each year for the competition, and the Tier a project is placed in is dependent on its competitive score—the higher the score, the higher the rank. Scores are dependent on multiple factors, some of which will not change from year to year (Such as the project type) and some of which are based on performance and do change each year.

Combining existing renewal grants

  1. Q: Please provide information about combining grants under the CoC Program. A: When an agency has more than one grant for the same grant components, it may consolidate those grants, with HUD approval. Grant consolidation cannot take place during the CoC Program competition.  After the competition, agencies should notify the Office of Housing if there are grants they wish to consolidate. The Office of Housing may also initiate consolidation.
  1. Q: Can grants with different program year start and end dates be combined? A: Yes. In this case, the new grant end date becomes the earlier of the combined grant end dates. The full combined renewal grant will be eligible to be renewed as of the date following the new end date.

Scoring Sheet for FY16 Competition

  1. Q: The CoC created a draft scoring sheet for the 2016 Competition, which was made public for comment. Were there changes made based on comments received? A: NJo. The CoC received several comments about the draft scoring sheet, and these were discussed at the CoC Board meeting on July 15, 2016. Following discussion, the Board voted to approve the draft score sheet without changes. The Board minutes will be posted soon at www.springfieldhampdencoc.wordpress.com, and will contain a summary of the discussion regarding proposed changes.
  1. Q: Please provide more information on use of and timing of the renewal program scorecards in the renewal competition. A: The FY16 RFP evaluates renewal projects on a number of factors, including past program performance. The CoC creates the scorecards in order to assist the RFP review committee in having a summary of the information it will use in the scoring process.  The scorecards are created from several data sources—the primary sources are an Annual Performance Report (APR) run over a standard set of dates (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016), and City of Springfield records regarding billing, drawdown, submission of APRs and monitoring. Draft scorecards were distributed to renewal projects on July 12, 2016. The draft reports are provided in order to let agencies know what data collected in early July revealed about their program. If it appears that data is incorrect, the CoC has provided agencies with additional time to make data corrections so that data will reflect actual performance. New APR reports will be produced after August 5, 2016, and will be relied upon during the scoring. Agencies should plan to have all data complete and correct by August 5, 2016.

Project Budgets

  1. Q: For renewal grants, can programs change budgets in the renewal application? A:For renewal grants, budget amounts across categories—Leasing, Rental Assistance, Supportive Services, Operating Costs, and Administration—must be the same as what is on the Grant Inventory Worksheet. These are the amounts on the spreadsheet handed out as part of the CoC Renewal Project meeting. Within one or more of these categories, budgets may be changed.

Esnaps

  1. Q: What attachments must be uploaded into esnaps for the renewal application? A: The only required attachment is verification of nonprofit status.
  1. Q: In esnaps in previous project renewal applications there has been a check-off for the Mayor—if that is there this time, should agencies check this off before submitting by the August 12 deadline? Or should agencies inform the CoC that the application is ready to submit and have the CoC check that box and submit? A: Screen 7B of the application in esnaps contains required certifications. There is a check-box indicating the Mayor’s certification that the required statements are true. Unless the box is checked, project sponsors will not be able to submit the application in esnaps. Project sponsors should check the box. You will be submitting a draft application to the CoC when you check the box and submit within esnaps. Prior to the final submission to HUD, the City will review and confirm certifications, and will ensure that the box is checked with the Mayor’s authorization.
  1. Q: How does an agency start a new application in esnaps? A: The agency must send an email to Gerry McCafferty with a request for creation of a new project application. The request must include the agency name, the project name, and whether the project is permanent supportive housing or rapid rehousing. The new project will be set up in esnaps, and the agency will receive an email informing it that the project application has been created.
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