The Hampden County CoC Application Committee has completed review of renewal and new projects submitted in response to its Request for Proposals, released and announced on December 12, 2013. The selected projects will be included in the CoC Application which will be submitted to HUD on February 3, 2014. All applicants have already been informed of the Committee’s decisions.
The CoC Application Review Committee met on January 14, 2014 to review rankings, interview applicants, and make funding decisions. The Committee consisted of Kathryn Buckley Brawner (Catholic Charities), Karen Dean (Hampden County Sheriff’s Department), Alicia Zoeller (City of Holyoke), Jesus Arce (City of Springfield), Marsha Crutchfield (Community Advocate), and Gerry McCafferty (City of Springfield).
Thank you to the Committee for their hard work, and thank you to all applicants for working so diligently through the process.
The following projects are selected to be included in the CoC application:
- HMIS, $29,732
- MHA Shelter + Care 48, $457,982
- Turning Point Permanent Supportive Housing (NEW), $56,550
- MHA Leahy House, $97,545
- HAP Rapid Rehousing (NEW), $32,268
- Samaritan Inn Transition Program, $99,414
- HRU Next Step, $279,144
- FOH Worthington House Campus, $22,679
- MHA Safe Havens, $98,536
- RVCC HIV/AIDS Residential Support, $171,756
- Open Pantry Tranquility House, $38,316
- SMOC Bowdoin St., $21,594
- Providence Ministries Loreto House, $73,693
- MHA Annie’s House, $179,369
- Gandara SHINE, $189,235
- MLK Jr. Family Services Project Permanence, $140,422
- HAP Rapid Rehousing 2 (NEW), $104,644
- Planning grant (NEW), $40,770
The Committee followed a multi-step process to make funding decisions:
1. The Committee used objective scoring criteria to score and rank all projects. The criteria were established prior to opening the funding competition, and were provided as an attachment to the CoC Request for Proposals. Each reviewer read and scored each proposals individually.
2. Committee member’s scores were averaged and an initial ranking was completed.
3. The Committee interviewed applicants, although the very-highest scoring applicants were given the option to opt out of the interview. The purpose of the interview was to clarify information that scores were based upon, and to provide any extenuating circumstances that led to poor performance or outcomes.
4. The Committee made final ranking decisions and funding decisions based upon the ranking and information provided in interviews.
Rationale for Funding and Ranking Decisions
After reviewing the results of the objective scoring, the Committee decided not to simply cut out the lowest-scoring project. A key reason for this decision is that the lowest-scoring project provides permanent supportive housing to chronically homeless families, a program that the committee believes is among the highest-priority for our community. The Committee believed that lower scores for this program reflected turnover among program management, and noted that the program is in the midst of merger with a larger, more stable organization. Further, the Committee was reluctant to make a decision that would result in cutting housing assistance and support to the existing very vulnerable families in the program.
The Committee noted that the next 3 lowest-ranked projects were each transitional housing. Each of these have qualities which argued against completely cutting the program. Ultimately, the Committee elected to spread cuts across these programs, with an end result that all three TH programs have a budget that is 10% less that the current year’s budget. The Committee notes that the only other TH project remaining in the ranking had applied for a grant 5% less than the existing grant, so every TH program is experiencing some level of cut. The only PSH project funded at less than the current year’s budget is one that applied for a smaller grant.
Going forward, one of these TH programs has already committed to conversion to PSH. The Committee is urging the other TH programs that do not serve a specialized population to identify a strategy for conversion, because they are at funding risk in future competitions.
One new project submitted an application to provide rapid rehousing assistance to homeless families. Given our CoC’s very high number of homeless families, the Committee has included this project in two parts–one in Tier 1 and one in Tier 2. Full funding for this project in Tier 1 would have required elimination of a full program. For the reasons provided above, the Committee decided not to make this type of full program cut.
Agencies that wish to challenge the funding level or ranking of their project may appeal by submitting a written letter which states the reason for the appeal to Gerry McCafferty, Springfield Office of Housing, 1600 E. Columbus Ave., Springfield, MA 01103. Letters must be received no later than January 24, 2014, 4 pm.