Electrification of Institutionally-Owned Affordable Housing Program
The City of Providence’s Department of Sustainability (the City) notifies interested applicants of the availability of funds allocated from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to assist property-owning nonprofit institutions and deed restricted affordable housing partnerships or LLCs with the electrification of affordable housing units. Electrification projects include electrification of the following: heating equipment, hot water heating equipment, cooking equipment, pre-electrification upgrades, and weatherization and pre-weatherization upgrades associated with an electrification project. These housing units must be within Qualified Census Tracts (QCTs) and/or serve households with incomes at or below 65% of the Area Median Income within Providence, RI. The availability and use of these funds are subject to federal regulations and are further subject to the City of Providence’s policies and program requirements.
The goal of this Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Electrification of Institutionally-Owned Affordable Housing Program is to make financial resources available to property-owning nonprofit institutions and deed restricted affordable housing partnerships or LLCs to enable electrification improvements to affordable housing units. These improvements will reduce energy costs and improve health outcomes for Providence community members that have experienced economic hardships and disparate health outcomes due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 3, 2021.
Approximately $500,000 in federal ARPA funds are available for this funding program. The maximum award per applicant is $200,000. This funding has been allocated through the City of Providence’s ARPA budget to assist the areas and populations hardest hit by the pandemic.
The City reserves the right to fund, in whole or in part, any, all, or none of the applications submitted in response to this NOFA. The City reserves the right to renew or increase overall funding available through this NOFA. If less than 100% of the available funds are initially awarded in this funding round, the City reserves the right to make additional awards on a rolling basis to applicants that are awarded through this round or to applicants that applied but did not receive an initial award. In both instances, applicants must meet the requirements of this NOFA and have demonstrated adequate utilization of prior ARPA funds (if appropriate).
Eligible applicants must be property-owning nonprofit institutions or deed restricted affordable housing partnerships or LLCs with affordable housing units that are located in Qualified Census Tracts and/or serving households with incomes at or below 65% of the Area Median Income within Providence, RI. The following types of entities are eligible for this program:
- Community Development Corporations
- Housing Authorities
- Low-Income Housing Tax Credit project owners
Applicants must demonstrate or certify that they:
- Have an established history of managing rehabilitation programs and initiatives for low-income populations in Providence.
- Have the capacity to deliver culturally-competent and accessible services in languages other than English that are most spoken in Providence, including Spanish, Portuguese, and Mon-Khmer.
- Have an accounting system and sufficient internal controls necessary to meet federal standards described at 2 CFR 200.302
- Are eligible for federal funding, i.e. has no outstanding delinquent federal debts; no debarments and or suspensions from doing business with the federal government and has or is eligible to attain a valid registration with SAM.gov.
- Have no conflict of interest that would violate City, State, or Federal Conflict of Interest laws or policies and has disclosed any potential conflicts.
- Are committed to federal Fair Housing Rules.
- Are familiar with the Lead Safe Housing Rule and its applicability to federally-assisted rehabilitation activities.
- Have reviewed Treasury SLFRF guidance.
- Electrification of heating equipment via the installation of heat pumps
- Electrification of hot water heating equipment
- Electrification of cooking equipment
- Pre-electrification upgrades
- Weatherization and pre-weatherization upgrades associated with an electrification project
- Program must target housing units in Qualified Census Tracts or units serving households with incomes at or below 65% of the Area Median Income.
- Program improvements must have projected energy cost savings compared to existing conditions.
- A not-insignificant portion of the cost-savings resulting from program improvements must redound to tenants. For example:
- Tenants directly paying utility bills will see a reduction in energy costs.
- Tenants not directly paying utility bills see a reduction in rent or limitations on rent increases that would otherwise have occurred.
- Projects shall be vetted by a City-hired electrification consultant to ensure they are cost-effective and appropriately-designed.
- Projects must prioritize electrification/pre-electrification, but may include energy efficiency measures associated with the electrification project.
- Programs may maximize cost-effectiveness (i.e. electrifying the most units for the least cost) or take a case-study approach (i.e. electrifying various building types/sizes and/or experimenting with different methods to compare outcomes).
Funding may be used on labor, supplies, and equipment associated with electrification projects.
- Labor Standards: Awardees and all subcontractors shall pay laborers and mechanics at a rate not less than the prevailing wages specified by the Secretary of Labor and not less than once a week. While not required, Awardees that commit to entering into a labor peace agreement between selected subcontractors and a bona fide labor organization and/or select subcontractors that participate in approved apprenticeship programs and pre-apprenticeship programs that maintain direct entry agreements with bona fide labor organizations will be favored.
- Eligible electrification equipment related to heating/cooling and hot water heating must meet the standards set by the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resource’s (OER) High-Efficiency Heat Pump Program, unless specifically approved by the City. The City reserves the right to add standards relating to ovens/stoves based on energy efficiency in the future.
- Pre-electrification upgrades are eligible expenses when paired with an electrification project. These include, but are not limited to, service and panel upgrades.
- Entities should leverage all funding sources and incentives for energy efficiency, weatherization, and pre-weatherization projects to the greatest extent possible before funding from this program is used for these improvements. Other funding sources include, but are not limited to, utility programs and the State’s weatherization programs. Gaps in financing for energy efficiency, weatherization, and pre-weatherization projects may be eligible expenses when paired with an electrification project.
- Employee compensation and other costs associated with program administration.
Match is not required, but programs contributing match will be scored more favorably. Match may include:
- Contributions towards electrification/pre-electrification project costs, including labor, supplies, equipment.
- New investments in energy efficiency and weatherization improvements to a unit undergoing an electrification project, including pre-weatherization costs, that are completed within one year of the electrification improvements.
Funding secured (or to be secured) by the applicant from other incentive programs may be counted as match. Employee compensation or other costs associated with program administration may not be counted as match.
QUESTIONS & VIRTUAL WORKSHOP
Questions regarding this NOFA may be submitted to the Department of Sustainability via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to the complexity of some questions, responses will not be posted on December 23, 2022 as originally stated in the NOFA. Instead, responses will be posted on Friday, December 30, 2022.
Please note, the application deadline is being postponed to Friday, February 17, 2023.
Applicable dates are included in the Application Timeline section below.
|NOFA Issued:||December 1, 2022|
|Virtual Workshop:||December 15, 2022 at 1PM*|
|Question Deadline:||December 21, 2022|
|Q&A Posted Online:||December 30, 2022|
|Application Deadline:||February 17, 2023|
|Grant Agreements Signed:||TBD|
The following documents are required:
1. Cover Sheet: stating the applicant’s name, address, point-of-contact (name, title, phone & email), program title, name of NOFA the program is responding to (Electrification of Institutionally-Owned Affordable Housing Program), and proposal date.
2. Proposal Abstract: Concise narrative that outlines the proposed program, including goals, general program design, and anticipated impact on population housed.
3. Applicant Information:
- Concise applicant description.
- Description of the populations served by the housing units owned by the applicant.
- List key personnel to be involved in the program, including names, titles, roles, and a brief description of their experience/qualifications.
- Describe how applicant typically plans, funds, and implements improvements to its housing stock.
- Describe applicant’s experience with energy efficiency and electrification improvements.
- List and briefly describe qualifications of sub-contractor(s), if any
4. Proposal: The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below.
- Problem Statement: Concise statement of why the proposed program is needed.
- Program Goals, Intermediate Benchmarks, and Activities: Goals describe the program’s intended outcome. Intermediate benchmarks are measurable accomplishments on the way to achieving the goals. Activities describe the work required to achieve intermediate benchmarks. While not limited to the items below, this section must address:
- Type, location, and number of units electrified.
- Explanation of how savings will be passed to tenants.
- Affordability status of targeted units (i.e. How long are units deed restricted? Will units transition to market-rate when deed restrictions expire?)
- COVID-19 Impact: Describe the population housed by the units owned by your entity, the impact COVID-19 had on that population, and how the proposed program will address those impacts.
- Tenant Collaboration: Describe existing structures and/or new structures proposed as part of this proposal that allow tenants to inform decision making relating to their housing and improvements to their housing.
- Labor Standards: Confirm commitment to paying laborers prevailing wages and describe additional labor standards associated with your program, including whether labor peace agreements will be used and whether subcontractors have approved apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs that maintain direct entry agreements (see details in Eligible Expenses section above).
- Program Timeline: Projected timeline detailing start date, completion of intermediate benchmarks, and completion of project including funding drawdowns at each stage.
- Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: Describe how activities will be monitored throughout the timeframe of the grant to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how the program will be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the stated goals.
- Future Funding or Sustainability: Description of how experience gained as a result of the program will catalyze future electrification projects of affordable housing units. Describe plan for funding further electrification projects.
5. Budget Components:
- Complete the Budget Template (download below).
- Provide a budget narrative that includes an explanation for each line item in the budget. Where applicable, describe how line-items were derived (e.g. quote from qualified contractor for electrification of typical unit, etc.)
6. Application Form (download below)
Submitted applications determined to be eligible under the regulations will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Project will be evaluated using a) or b) whichever is more applicable.
- units electrified (for proposals focused on maximizing units) (10)
- approach and potential to inform future projects (for case-study proposals) (10)
- Impact on ARPA impacted populations, including financial and health benefits to tenants (10)
- Relevant organizational and staff experience (10)
- Labor standards (5)
- Ability of tenants to inform or participate in decision making relating to their housing or improvements to their housing (5)
- Commitment to continuing to identify funding for and implementing electrification projects following the grant term (5)
- Program cost relative to outcomes and impacts (10)
- Match (5)
The City reserves the right to request additional information from applicants during the review process and to use other available information regarding an applicant’s history, experience, and past performance as a City subgrantee or borrower as may be necessary when evaluating applications.
Funding is limited. Applications that meet all of the NOFA’s general guidelines and requirements may not necessarily receive an award. The City may recommend funding a program for the full amount requested, or less than the full amount, or not at all. There are no requirements or expectations that the City must award all or any funds through the NOFA process.
The City reserves the right to postpone or cancel this NOFA, if it deems it to be in the best interest of the City to do so. The City reserves the right to waive any technical or formal errors or omissions, to reject any and all proposals, or to award contracts, either in part or in whole, if deemed to be in the best interest of the City.
Successful applicants shall be in complete compliance with all the specifications, terms and conditions of the proposal. The City shall have the right to inspect the facilities and equipment of the successful applicant to ensure such compliance. The City shall not be liable for any costs incurred in the preparation of proposals or for any work performed in connection therein.
Application reviews and awards are contingent upon applicants being current to the City on any loan, contractual, or tax obligation as due, or with any rule, regulation, or provision on existing or past City contracts.
FEDERAL CONTRACT PROVISIONS
Recipients of ARPA funds are subject to required federal contract provisions. Required conditions may be found in Attachment A: Sample City of Providence ARPA Agreement which also includes an ARPA Exhibit: ARPA Handbook – City of Providence SLFRF Manual. These conditions are subject to change.