02/18/2021

Request for Proposals: Homeless Prevention and Response Fund

Applications Accepted on Rolling Basis Beginning as of February 19, 2021

This Request for Proposals (“RFP”) is directed to owners and developers of supportive or affordable housing rental developments who have been awarded funding during a competitive funding round from the Connecticut Department of Housing (“DOH”) or the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (“CHFA”) and are seeking funding for capitalized operating reserves from DOH for supportive housing.

A. Goal of this RFP:

DOH is committed to expanding supportive housing opportunities for its residents, combining safe, decent and affordable housing with the appropriate support services. Supportive housing is an evidence-based, cost-effective intervention that enables vulnerable populations to lead stable, productive lives within the community.

The Homeless Prevention and Response Fund (HPRF) program was created to provide financial assistance in the form of a capitalized operating reserve account to owners of multi-family housing properties for operational uses of such properties in exchange for such owners’ agreement to incorporate supportive housing units into the project.

Under this program, the owner agrees to restrict the occupancy of a designated number of residential units for at least ten (10) years to eligible households identified by DOH (or its contractor) and the local Coordinated Access Network (CAN). The CAN is the collective of service providers working together to streamline and standardize the process for individuals and families to access assistance to help communities rapidly end homelessness by connecting such individuals and families with appropriate housing and resources as quickly as possible. The HPRF program is subject to the provisions of CGS § 8-37mm.

B. Funding:

Approximately $5 million in capitalized operating reserve funding is anticipated to be made available by DOH pursuant to this RFP.  DOH funds will be provided in the form of grants based on project need and DOH’s underwriting. 

Applicants may request an operating subsidy to compensate for the difference between the cost of operating the HPRF program units in the project and the foreseeable rent revenue for such units to households with an income not to exceed 30% AMI.  It is anticipated that some households will enter their tenancy with no income so project budgets need to take this into account.

Previous HPRF awards have been between $480,000 and $1 million or approximately $10K/per unit/year for 10 years.

Operating expenses include costs associated with the operation of supportive housing. These costs include, but are not limited to, utilities, maintenance, security, property management, real estate taxes and insurance, accounting, and office expenses. Costs associated with resident service coordinators and front desk coverage are allowable.

Operating subsidy requests may not exceed the cost of operation of the project less the projected rent revenue.

The HPRF subsidy is for 10 years, although, the affordability restrictions on the project may be longer depending on the sources of capital funding.  If other affordability restrictions apply, the project must comply with those requirements after the 10-year HPRF subsidy concludes. 

The project owner will be required to enter into a Funding Agreement (FA) with DOH and its designee, Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH).  The FA will include, but is not limited to, the funding terms, funding uses, reporting requirements, and disbursement schedule.

C. Supportive Housing:

Supportive housing combines decent, safe and affordable housing with individualized support services.  All tenants of this housing must have access to flexible, individualized services for as long as they are needed in order to achieve and retain permanent housing, increase their life skills and income, and achieve greater self-determination.  The following are standards for permanent supportive housing:

  • Tenants have individual apartment units;
  • Tenants hold leases;
  • The length of stay is not limited and is determined by the individual or family tenant as long as the tenant is in lease compliance;
  • The tenant’s use of services or programs is not a condition of tenancy;
  • The tenant has access to a flexible array of comprehensive services, which may include medical and wellness, mental health, substance abuse management and recovery, vocational and employment, money management, coordinated support (case management), life skills, household establishment and tenant advocacy;
  • There is a working partnership that includes ongoing communication between the supportive services provider, property owner, and property management entity; and
  • Projects should include both individuals and families with special needs and individuals and families without such needs.

Under HPRF, services offered to tenants must be provided by a Department of Mental Health and Addiction Service’s (DMHAS) Qualified Service Provider.  A Qualified Service Provider has the meaning set forth in the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority’s (“CHFA”) Supportive Housing Guidelines: https://www.chfa.org/assets/1/6/2019_-_Supportive_Housing_Guideline.pdf?8738.  Non DMHAS Qualified Services Providers may be allowed at the discretion of DOH.

D. Eligible Applicants:

Applicants eligible for consideration under this RFP include any entity that has received a funding commitment from DOH under its Affordable Housing Program, Connecticut General Statutes (“CGS”) § 8-37pp or CHFA under its Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) or Housing Tax Credit Contribution (HTCC) Program. 

E. Eligible Populations/Program Referral:

  • Eligible Tenants
    • Income Limits: Supportive housing units will be restricted to households earning no more than 30% AMI.  The HPRF subsidy will be used to make units affordable to households earning no more than 30% AMI. 
    • Eligibility: Individuals or households experiencing homelessness and referred by the regional Coordinated Access Network (CAN) based on the CAN’s matching process through the common assessment tool and input from CAN providers.
  • Referral Coordination: Tenancy applications must only be accepted through the Coordinated Access Network (“CAN”) referral process for units receiving HPRF funding.  Those deemed appropriate for this type of housing intervention, primarily the most vulnerable, will be referred based on the CAN’s matching process through the common assessment tool and input from CAN providers.

F. Eligible Projects and Units:

  • Project and Unit Restrictions
    • Projects eligible for HPRF must include at least three (3) supportive housing units.  For projects with a total unit count between three (3) and twelve (12) units, applicants may propose restricting up to twelve (12) units of supportive housing.  For projects with a total unit count between thirteen (13) and nineteen (19) units, applicants must propose restricting between three (3) and eight (8) units for supportive housing.  For projects with a total unit count greater than twenty (20) units, applicants must propose restricting no more than 25% of the units.
    • Units will be restricted to households earning no more than 30% AMI. The HPRF subsidy may be used to make units affordable to households at or below 30% AMI.
Total UnitsSupportive Units
3-12Between 3-12 units
13-19Between 3-8 units
20+No more than 25% of the total units
  • Unit Types: Efficiency, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units will be eligible for funding.  Units identified as supportive housing must be dispersed throughout the project and not concentrated in one area of the development.

G. Monitoring:

All projects will be required to participate in monitoring throughout the term of the funding implemented by DOH or their designee.  The monitoring will include confirmation that appropriate support services are available to all tenants, compliance with the Funding Agreement (FA), and tenant income verification.

H. Application Submission Requirements:

  • The DOH application review will include a thorough analysis to determine the minimum amount of state subsidy needed. The DOH application review will include an analysis of the Project’s Consolidated Application (“ConApp”) submission including all attachments, that allowed eligibility for the HPRF program.
  • All Applicants are required to complete the Homeless Prevention Response Fund’s Application for Funding found in the HPRF 2021 Application.
  • Applicants must enter into a written Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with a DMHAS Qualified Service Provider, which clearly delineates the respective roles and responsibilities of each party with regard to the proposed Project, and submit it with their application.  If the Applicant is a Qualified Service Provider and will be providing services to tenants themselves a detailed description and policies outlining the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of the services provided is required.
  • Any project funded through this RFP must enter client level data for this program into the Homeless Management Information System (“HMIS”) or a comparable database approved by DOH.  If the applicant does not have access to HMIS or comparable database, this will be the responsibility of the service provider and must be stipulated in the MOU.  
  • Projects must be cost effective, including costs of construction, operations, and supportive services with such costs not deviating substantially from the norm in that locale for the type of structure or kind of activity.
  • Projects/programs must adhere to a Housing First approach. As defined by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, “Housing First is a proven approach in which people experiencing homelessness are provided with permanent housing directly and with few to no treatment preconditions, behavioral contingencies, or barriers.”

I. Application Submission Schedule and Process:

Applications for funding under this RFP will be accepted by CSH beginning February 19, 2021, and continuing on a rolling basis until all funds are committed. Application materials and questions should be submitted to the attention of Anna Smith at Anna.smith@csh.org. Questions received by CSH, if material to this RFP, and CSH’s answers there to will be periodically posted on the CSH’s website under “Funding Opportunities.”

J. Selection Criteria: Applications will be reviewed on a first come first serve basis based on the criteria outlined below:

  • Completeness of application, compliance with requirements, and reasonableness of budget.
  • Readiness to proceed.  
  • Quality of the Program Plan.
  • Capacity and previous performance with state funding.
  • Additional considerations will include, but may not be limited to, an equitable distribution of geographic funding provided under the RFP and the need for the program in the targeted geographic area.

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