The Hampden County CoC Application Committee met Thursday, December 5, 3-4:30 pm.
Present: Kathryn Buckley-Brawner (Catholic Charities), Karen Dean (Hampden County Sheriff’s Department), Alicia Zoeller (City of Holyoke), Marcia Crutchfield (community member with extensive background in homeless programs), Gerry McCafferty (City of Springfield).
HUD NOFA AND LOCAL APPLICATION PROCESS
The Committee reviewed the HUD NOFA, which was released November 22, 2013 and which sets up our overall timeframe and requirements for inclusion of local projects in our collaborative application, which is due to be submitted February 3, 2013. The Committee used the rest of the meeting to discuss the process to be used this year for taking applications, evaluating them, and determining which projects will be included in our application to HUD and what criteria we will use for ranking projects.
In order to meet HUD requirements and also give providers sufficient time to prepare applications, the Committee established the following timeline for the process:
Dec. 11: CoC will issue Request for Proposals, seeking new and renewal applications for this year’s competition
Jan. 3, noon: Complete applications due at the Springfield Office of Housing
Jan. 10, 4 pm: Deadline for submittal of all leverage letters
Jan. 14 & 15: Applicant interviews with CoC Application Committee
Jan 17: Selection and Ranking decisions released online; written notice of results provided to all applicants
Jan 24: Deadline for applicants to appeal selection and ranking decisions
Jan. 28: Appeal decisions released
Even though there is no additional funding this year for new projects, the Committee decided to have a full competitive process in which both renewal and new applications will be considered and scored by objective scoring criteria. The HUD NOFA provides clear priorities, which are directed toward national goals around ending homelessness as well as emphasis on best practices which are effective in advancing the national goals. To carry this out at the local level, the CoC will allow new projects which are aligned with federal goals to compete against existing projects, which may be based on older models of responding to homelessness. The Committee hopes that projects using older models may reconsider and make changes that will make them more competitive in this application. Programs that are unwilling to make changes risk the possibility of scoring lower than a new project and not being included in the CoC application to HUD.
- Permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless and rapid rehousing for homeless families are the only types of new projects that are eligible for new funding. Renewal projects that fall into these two program types will be prioritized.
- Existing PSH programs are asked to commit to using turnover beds/units for chronically homeless
- Housing First program models
- Evidence-based practice
- Programs that target those with those less likely to be served, which include those coming from literal homelessness and those with 2 or more disabilities
- Programs that leverage a high level of other funding sources and mainstream services, and use a limited amount of CoC funds for costs other than housing costs
- Programs that meet or exceed HUD and CoC performance goals regarding housing stability, jobs and income growth, and access to mainstream services
- Cost-effectiveness: Renewal projects are urged to make voluntary budget reductions, and new projects must demonstrate cost-effectiveness
- Geographic diversity: projects that meet the CoC’s goal of providing services throughout Hampden County
In order to use an objective process, as well as incentives for programs to incorporate policies and procedures aligned with national and local goals, the Committee will use a point system to score applications. For all applicants, points will be given for program design; financial factors; and program management. Renewal projects will also be scored on performance; and new applications will be scored on capacity and experience. The Committee is finalizing a scoring rubric, which will be publicly released with the CoC RFP on December 11, and will show clearly the components that will contribute to higher scores.
New this year, the application process will include applicant interviews. Both the Performance & Outcomes Committee and the CoC Application Committee noted that there may be explanations for program conditions which are not accurately reflected in a program’s ‘numbers’. Brief interviews will be used to clarify and explain scoring factors. All interviews will be scheduled for January 14 and 15.