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FY 2020 and FY 2021 Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)

The Office of Policy Development and Research FY2020 and FY2021 Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance NOFO has completed final OMB and OGC Approval and it is ready for publication.

Through this NOFO, HUD is announcing the availability of at least two awards: up to $2.5 million in FY 2020 funding and up to $6.8 million in FY 2021 funding. We anticipate around three awards from each of these funding sources to provide technical assistance (TA) to units of general local government (UGLGs) and their non-profit partners serving communities experiencing long-term economic hardship. This includes distressed UGLGs and UGLGs experiencing persistent poverty, as defined under this NOFO. No less than $5 million from the FY 2021 funding will be available to assist UGLGs and their nonprofit partners serving communities experiencing persistent poverty.

The objectives of the funds awarded through this NOFO include:

  • Improve UGLGs’ understanding of relevant financial management principles and practices, including building internal capacity to develop policies and procedures that meet any program compliance requirements and the needs of the communities they serve.
  • Improve UGLGs’ internal processes by helping them identify relevant local data, evaluate the implementation of planning documents, build cross-sector partnerships, and establish equitable community engagement practices.
  • Build UGLGs’ capacity to identify, implement, and monitor strategies or plans for economic revitalization or stabilization, including in neighborhoods experiencing persistent poverty.
  • Improve UGLGs’ understanding of root causes of economic distress and/or persistent poverty, in specific neighborhoods or communities within the UGLG’s jurisdiction.
  • Enhance UGLGs’ ability to identify, access, and leverage funding streams and other resources to add internal capacity (for example, additional staffing), or for financing and supporting community improvement projects in the areas of economic development, housing, or disaster recovery.

The technical assistance provided through this NOFO will be specific to the UGLG or community receiving the technical assistance rather than program-specific. It will be scaled to ensure a measurable impact on the community’s growth and resilience, as well as the efficient use of public funds. To that end, we are seeking awardees that will take a place-based, holistic approach to technical assistance.
The experience and expertise needed include a variety of topics: financial management; governance in smaller UGLGs; cross-sector partnerships; data identification, collection, and analysis; project planning, implementation and monitoring; participating in federal, state, and local programs; community engagement; new construction and rehabilitation; economic revitalization and development; and disaster recovery and resilience. You are encouraged to procure contractors and consultants as necessary that demonstrate experience across these topic areas.

Important Note: This NOFO is not part of the comprehensive “Community Compass Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Program.” Applicants should thoroughly review this NOFO to ensure that they have the necessary skills to provide the technical assistance described in this NOFO.

a. TA Focus Areas
We expect TA efforts under this NOFO to focus on building financial management capacity, attracting private sector investment, establishing cross-sector partnerships, implementing recently adopted community plans (housing, economy, disaster, climate resiliency, or general) and developing frameworks for disaster resilience. Because we will take a holistic view of providing technical assistance to distressed UGLGS and UGLGs experiencing persistent poverty, we are looking for applicants with demonstrable experience across all areas. As new HUD priorities and recipient needs emerge, TA assignments may address additional programmatic or policy areas.
b. Leveraging
HUD believes that leveraging outside investments encourages engagement between actors in the philanthropic, nonprofit, and private sectors. This NOFA requires a minimum leveraged funding amount of 5% of the total award. Any leveraged funds over this amount are not required but are encouraged through points awarded in Rating Factor 3 (see section V.A.1 of this NOFO).
The leveraged funds may be provided as a cash or in-kind donation. Combined funding commitments from different sources provided by applicants will count towards the total amount. Federal sources are not allowed to be used as a cost share or match unless otherwise permitted by the source program's authorizing statute. As the program described in this NOFO may produce engagements anywhere in HUD’s jurisdiction, leveraged funds cannot have any geographic limitation on their usage.
c. Eligible Activities
Successful applicants may be tasked to deliver TA using any of the following eligible activities. These activities are subject to any restrictions or limitations imposed by the federal regulations, statutes, and policies referenced in this NOFA.

  • Needs Assessments. Needs assessments are intended to help determine the nature and scope of the TA and capacity building required by the applicants for TA. Needs assessments help to quantify the potential impact of development activity and recovery initiatives. They also examine local market conditions so that program resources may be better targeted and leveraged. In some instances, a self-assessment by the TA recipient may provide a satisfactory basis for determining the scope and scale of the assistance necessary. In other cases, a TA provider will conduct on-site or remote needs assessments to collect information about the capacity gaps of the TA recipient. A needs assessment may use multiple information collection and analysis tools, including public data resources and primary data gathered on-site. Needs assessments should be done in a collaborative manner, with the active involvement of local officials and other stakeholders.
  • Direct TA and Capacity Building Engagements. Direct TA and capacity building require working onsite and/or remotely to improve knowledge and capacity around TA focuses mentioned above, including but not limited to, economic redevelopment, revitalization, and resiliency in distressed communities, including those recovering from natural disasters.
  • Develop and Maintain Tools and Products. Tools and products developed will use adult learning principles to assist distressed UGLGs and UGLGs experiencing persistent poverty in adopting effective, efficient, and sustainable practices that address challenges in the TA focuses supported by this NOFA. These products might take the form of web-based courses or trainings, videos, interactive tools, and webinars. Tool and product development may also include the creation of templates, desk guides, toolkits, and curricula that improve program management and operations, evaluation, and performance measurement. All products and tools developed must comply with Section 508 accessibility requirements, which requires that all information and communications technology, regardless of the medium of the technology, be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Maintenance of tools and products could include translating existing materials into other languages.
  • Self-Directed and Group Learning. Self-directed and group learning is intended to increase the capacity and close the competency gaps of participants by equipping them with the necessary program knowledge and skills needed to administer and manage HUD programs. Group learning will incorporate adult learning principles that may include delivery of HUD-approved training courses remotely or in person; online self-directed courses; problem-solving clinics; policy academies; live or pre-recorded webinars; and peer-to-peer assistance exchanges for TA recipients with similar local market contexts, challenges, opportunities, and community needs. Group learning could include establishing and supporting group learning cohorts and curricula.
  • Administrative. Administrative activities are directly associated with overall award management and execution, including salaries and benefits of persons who support the execution of the award terms. Costs include preparing reports for submission to HUD, obtaining program audits, and general operating costs when billed direct. Administrative costs are not allowable as direct award execution charges when these costs are included in a selected applicant organization’s negotiated indirect cost rate agreement or when the organization is using the de minimus rate. Refer to section VI.A.5. of this NOFA for administrative cost limits applicable to award execution costs.

Certain administrative costs are not considered to be award execution costs and are not subject to the administrative limits in this NOFA. For example, the salary and fringe benefits for the Program Manager assigned to oversee the outcome of a specific TA engagement are considered part of the TA engagement costs and are not included in award execution costs. These costs may not be greater than 15 percent of the total award (see Section VI.A of this NOFO).

Rental and maintenance of office space is allowed only under the following conditions:

  • The lease must be for existing facilities not requiring rehabilitation or construction except for minimal alterations to make the facilities accessible for a person with disabilities
  • No repairs or renovations of the property may be undertaken with funds provided under this NOFA
  • Properties in the Coastal Barrier Resources System designated under the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (16 U.S.C. 3501) cannot be leased or rented with federal funds
  • Coordination. Coordination activities consist of services related to coordinating technical assistance with partnership organizations and planning technical assistance engagements, including data gathering, studies, and analysis, and the identification of actions that will implement such plans. Coordination enables successful applicants to:
    • Determine needs and capacity gaps to address with TA recipients, including addressing needs across multiple HUD programs
    • Set long-term goals and short-term objectives for technical assistance plans
    • Devise products and activities to meet these goals and objectives
    • Evaluate the progress of such programs and activities in accomplishing these goals and objectives

HUD expects to make approximately 6 awards from the funds available under this NOFA. 

Preference Points: This NOFO offers 2 points for Section 3 or HBCU.

Program Office: Office of Policy Development and Research

Funding Opportunity Title: FY2020 and FY2021 Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance NOFO

Assistance Listing Number: 14.259

FAIN:  FR-6500-N-54

OMB Approval Numbers: 2528-0299

Estimated Opening Date: June 17, 2021

Estimated Deadline Date: July 29, 2021

Agency Contact:  Questions regarding specific program requirements for this NOFO should be directed to Madlyn.WohlmanRodriguez@hud.govPersons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Please note that HUD staff cannot assist applicants in preparing their applications.

Program NOFO