Affordable and Alternative Housing Programming Grant Program

Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)
Affordable and Alternative Housing Programming Grant Program

Issue Date: October 17, 2022
Applications Due: November 18, 2022

Download Application Here

OVERVIEW

The City of Providence hereby notifies interested applicants of the availability of funds allocated from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) budget for the Affordable and Alternate Housing Programming Grant Program. 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 Affordable and Alternate Housing Programming Grant Program, through this notice of funding availability (NOFA), will provide support to non-profit organizations or quasi-public agencies serving populations directly experiencing housing instability or homelessness. The goal of this grant opportunity is to support demonstration projects that will provide supportive services and/or resources to allow hardest-to-house populations who are underserved by Rhode Island’s existing shelter and housing system to more efficiently transition to and be successful in permanent or long-term housing. Demonstration projects are projects involving innovative housing programs, services, and/or systems that do not meet existing published standards or regulations. Demonstration projects are intended to pilot new service modalities and demonstrate their impact and cost-effectiveness.

Organizations with innovative ideas to increase housing stability, hasten or bridge the transition of households into affordable housing units, or otherwise support people experiencing homelessness to regain and maintain stable housing may apply for funds up to $500,000. Pilot programs that receive funding through this opportunity must be able to be implemented by June 30, 2024.

 

AMOUNT OF FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR AWARD

There are $500,000 in federal ARPA funds available through this funding opportunity. 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. Applicants may request up to $500,000 in funding.

 

INVESTMENT PRIORITIES

The primary goal of this funding opportunity is to support innovative projects that will provide supportive services and/or resources to improve the housing stability of residents of Providence who are underserved by the current shelter and housing system.

Examples of priority projects for this funding include:

  • Non-congregate shelter programs with built-in housing focused case management services.
  • Housing navigation services, particularly those attached to rental assistance funds.
  • Ongoing rental assistance payments, in particular for those whose rapid rehousing subsidies will be expiring and/or who are facing eviction and receiving eviction defense services.

Priority populations to be served through this funding opportunity include formerly incarcerated individuals, those with significant physical and/or mental health challenges, those with partners, pets, possessions, or trauma-history that create barriers to traditional shelter and housing programs, unaccompanied youth, individuals who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, and those with income levels at 0-30% AMI. Projects that serve other populations will be considered if the proposal can demonstrate how the targeted population is underserved by our existing system and disproportionately impacted by the housing crisis.

Organizations interested in applying for this funding opportunity are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the City’s Anti-Displacement and Comprehensive Housing Strategy, in particular the Vision and Goals and Technical Analysis Summary sections on pages 19-40, and explain how their proposed project fits within the needs identified within that report. 

Awarded projects will be funded for one year and must have a completion date on or before June 30, 2024. Extension of the project(s) is possible contingent upon available funding.

 ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS

Applicants seeking funding must be public or private non-profit organizations or collaboratives (demonstrated by a Memorandum of Agreement between partners) that have demonstrated experience and capacity to provide high-quality services to low-income and marginalized residents of Providence, in particular those experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Additionally, projects must demonstrate their ability to meet all threshold criteria, listed below, in order for their proposal to be reviewed and scoped by the Application Review Committee. 

Applications must demonstrate and/or certify:

  • Ability to provide high quality, culturally-competent services through an  anti-racist, anti-stigma, trauma-informed, and strengths-based lens to populations such as racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA+ people, undocumented individuals, refugees, people with justice involvement, and people with disabilities [list is not exhaustive].
  • Capacity to deliver services in languages other than English that are most spoken in Providence, including Spanish, Portuguese, and Mon-Khmer.
  • That the project will use a Housing First and low-barrier approach; this service model should be described in the project narrative. 
  • That the applicant is eligible for federal funding, i.e. has no outstanding delinquent federal debts; no debarments and/or suspensions from doing business with the federal government.  
  • That the agency has an accounting system and sufficient internal controls necessary to meet federal standards described at 2 CFR 200.302
  • That the applicant is committed to Equal Access and Fair Housing Rules.
  • That no more than 7% of the total program budget is for administrative/indirect costs; this should be demonstrated in the project budget.
  • That the project will provide direct benefit to one of three eligibility categories: 
  1. People experiencing Category 1-4 Homeless as defined by HUD 
  2. Households verified to be earning at or below 65% AMI and experiencing housing instability 
  3. Households living in Qualified Census Tracts (QCTs). 

Funds available through this NOFA cannot be used towards construction costs, for projects that are politically driven or affiliated, or for projects that will primarily serve individuals or households with income at or above 65% of the Area Median Income.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS AND TIMELINE

Organizations that seek funds must submit a completed proposal form available here:

The City will keep the NOFA open until November 18, 2022. Any application materials submitted outside of the aforementioned timeframe will not be accepted or reviewed.

The City hosted a virtual information session on this NOFA on November 1, 2022 (Zoom Link to Session). Attendance was recommended, but not mandatory. Application technical support is also available by email. Please send all emails with questions about the NOFA application or process to hkahn@providenceri.gov. Any questions asked will be recorded and the answer will be shared here for the benefit of applicants and the community.

Questions and Answers

Q: Can these funds be used for acquisition of a multi-family property that will be used for a housing pilot?

A: Yes, these funds can be used to acquire a multi-family property that will be used for a housing pilot provided the request is within published NOFA caps and also complies with federal requirements related to the Uniform Relocation Act and cost-reasonableness. Purchase or lease price should be substantiated by a third-party appraisal.

Q: Could this NOFA fund the costs to locate and operate an embedded service provider within a new housing development? The service provider would work directly with a target population to provide referrals to the Coordinated Entry System (CES) and to connect clients with ongoing case management along with provision of its own specialized direct services.

A: Pilot programs that provide direct services to target populations would be eligible for this funding. Anticipated clients to be served and direct outcomes to be met must also be articulated within the proposals.

Q: Are you aware of federal guidelines around NOFA response times?

A:  §200.204 Notices of funding opportunities describes the process by which a federal agency (such as HUD, CDC, etc.) must publish their competitive awards, and the City as a pass-through entity is following similar protocols. An awarding agency must have at least a 30 calendar day availability period unless exigent circumstances require. This Notice of Funding Availability program is open for a 33 calendar day period.

Q: Is the $500,000 available through this funding opportunity per year or total? What is the anticipated duration of funded projects?

A: Projects must be completed by June 30, 2024, and we anticipate making awards in December 2022, so anticipate an 18 month performance period. $500,000 is the total amount of funding available, although more funds may become available at a later date.

Q: In the application form “Organization Capacity” question there is language that the organization around the organization’s “capacity to have this project rigorously evaluated as part of a research project.” Should we be writing evaluation of our pilot program into the budget or reflecting it in our narrative?

A: Capacity for rigorous evaluation is not a requirement for this NOFA. Impact will be measured and evaluated as part of the monthly ARPA reporting process if awarded. That said, if you do have interest in and resources to carry out a more formal and rigorous evaluation, we would be supportive of that.

Q: Do the narrative responses need to be submitted on the form provided, or is it ok to attach narrative responses as a Word doc? If we can attach additional narrative with our application, are there any guidelines regarding the length of the response?

A: Submitting the narrative responses as a word document is fine, but we’d recommend submitting the whole package as a pdf, if you’re not going to use the application form, to ensure the package is reviewed in its entirety. There is no word limit for your responses.

 Q: Once my application is finished, how should it be submitted?

 A: Please submit completed applications to https://pvdrescueplan.com/housing/. There is a submission section at the bottom of the page.

Q: Are applicants able to/allowed to attach letters of support to our proposal?

A: Yes, applicants may submit letters of support along with their proposals.

 

 Completed applications received by November 18, 2022 will be screened in order to determine whether the application meets minimum threshold eligibility requirements. Late proposals will not be accepted. City staff will evaluate each complete and eligible application according to the priorities identified herein.

 

ACTION TIMELINE
NOFA OPEN October 17, 2022
Community Workshop(s) November 1, 2022
Final Date for Questions November 16, 2022
Q&A Posted Online Now Posted
Application Submission Deadline November 18, 2022
Awards Announced December 5, 2022

    APPLICATION REVIEW CRITERIA

    Submitted applications that meet the threshold criteria will be further prioritized based on the scoring rubric available here:

     

    FUNDING DECISIONS

    Funding for this program is limited. Applications that meet all of the NOFA’s general guidelines and requirements may not necessarily receive an award. The City may fund a project or service 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 interests of the City to do so. The City reserves the right to waive any technical or formal errors or omissions, and to reject any and all proposals, or to award contracts, either in part or in whole, if deemed to be in the best interests of the City.

    Successful applicants shall be in complete compliance with all of 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.

    APPLICATION DOCUMENTS

     

    SUBMIT APPLICATION

    Submitter Name(Required)
    Accepted file types: pdf, Max. file size: 128 MB.