Rural Housing Service, USDA.
The Rural Housing Service (RHS), an Agency within Rural Development, announces that it is soliciting competitive applications under its Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) program. This action is taken to comply with Agency regulations which requires the Agency to announce the opening and closing dates for receipt of pre-applications for HPG funds from eligible applicants.
The Agency has published the amount of funding received in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Pub. L. 115-141, March 23, 2018) on its website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/notices-solicitation-applications-nosas. Expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant's risk.
The closing deadline for receipt of all pre-applications in response to this Notice is 5:00 p.m., local time for each Rural Development State Office on August 9, 2018 regardless of delivery method (hand delivered, electronic, mail, or a combination thereof). Rural Development State Office locations can be found at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices. RHS will not consider any application that is received after the closing deadline. Applicants intending to mail applications must provide sufficient time to permit delivery on or before the closing deadline date and time. Acceptance by the United States Postal Service or private mailer does not constitute delivery. Facsimile (FAX) and postage due applications will not be accepted.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
For general information, applicants may contact Bonnie Edwards-Jackson, Finance and Loan Analyst, Multi-Family Housing Preservation and Direct Loan Division, USDA Rural Development, STOP 0781, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-0781, telephone (202) 690-0759 (voice) (this is not a toll-free number) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD-Federal Information Relay Service) or via email at, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Agency encourages applications that will help improve life in rural America. See information on the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity found at www.usda.gov/ruralprosperity. Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Key strategies include:
- Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America
- Developing the Rural Economy
- Harnessing Technological Innovation
- Supporting a Rural Workforce
- Improving Quality of Life
Federal Agency Name: USDA Rural Housing Service.
Funding Opportunity Title: Housing Preservation Grants.
Announcement Type: Notice.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 10.433.
Paperwork Reduction Act
The reporting requirements contained in this Notice have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under Control Number 0575-0115.
A. Program Description
The HPG program is a grant program, authorized under 42 U.S.C. 1490m and implemented at 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N, which provides qualified public agencies, private non-profit organizations including, but not limited to, Faith-Based and neighborhood partnerships, and other eligible entities, Start Printed Page 29530grant funds to assist low- and very low-income homeowners in repairing and rehabilitating their homes in rural areas. In addition, the HPG program assists rental property owners and cooperative housing complexes in rural areas in repairing and rehabilitating their units if they agree to make such units available to low- and very low-income persons.
B. Federal Award Information
The funding instrument for the HPG program will be a grant agreement. The term of the grant can vary from 1 to 2 years, depending on available funds and demand. No maximum or minimum grant levels have been established at the National level. In accordance with 7 CFR 1944.652, coordination and leveraging of funding for repair and rehabilitation activities with housing and community development organizations or activities operating in the same geographic area are expected, but not required. You should contact the Rural Development State Office to determine the allocation. HPG applicants who were previously selected for HPG funds are eligible to submit new applications to apply for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 HPG program funds. New HPG applications must be submitted for the renewal or supplementation of existing HPG repair and/or rehabilitation projects that will be completed with FY 2018 HPG funds.
The amount of funding available for the HPG program may be found at the following link: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/housing-preservation-grants. Priorities such as Rural Economic Area Partnership Zones and other funds will be distributed under a formula allocation to states pursuant to 7 CFR part 1940, subpart L, “Methodology and Formulas for Allocation of Loan and Grant Program Funds.” Decisions on funding will be based on pre-application scores. Anyone interested in submitting an application for funding under this program is encouraged to consult the Rural Development website periodically for updated information regarding the status of funding authorized for this program.
The commitment of program dollars will be made to selected applicants that have fulfilled the necessary requirements for obligation.
C. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants. Eligible entities for these competitively awarded grants include State and local Governments, non-profit corporations, which may include, but not be limited to Faith-Based and community organizations, federally recognized Indian Tribes, and consortia of eligible entities. HPG applicants who were previously selected for HPG funds are eligible to submit new applications to apply for FY 2018 HPG program funds. More eligibility requirements can be found at 7 CFR 1944.658, 1944.661, and 1944.662.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching. Pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.652, grantees are expected to coordinate and leverage funding for repair and rehabilitation activities, as well as replacement housing, with housing and community development organizations or activities operating in the same geographic area. While HPG funds may be leveraged with other resources, cost sharing or matching is not a requirement for the HPG applicant as the HPG applicant would not be denied an award of HPG funds if all other project selection criteria have been met.
3. Other. Awards made under this Notice are subject to the provisions contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Pub. L. 115-141, March 23, 2018) sections 745 and 746 regarding corporate felony convictions and corporate Federal tax delinquencies. To comply with these provisions, only applicants that are or propose to be corporations will submit this form as part of their pre-application. Form AD-3030 can be found here: http://www.ocio.usda.gov/document/ad3030.
D. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Package: Applicants wishing to submit a paper application in response to this Notice must contact the Rural Development State Office serving the State of the proposed HPG housing project in order to receive further information and copies of the paper application package. You may find the addresses and contact information for each State Office following this web link, http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices. Rural Development will date and time stamp incoming paper applications to evidence timely receipt and, upon request, will provide the applicant with a written acknowledgment of receipt. You may access the electronic grant pre-application for Housing Preservation Grants at: http://www.grants.gov.
2. Content and Form of Application: 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N provides details on what information must be contained in the pre-application package. Entities wishing to apply for assistance should contact the Rural Development State Office to receive further information, the State allocation of funds, and copies of the pre-application package. Unless otherwise noted, applicants wishing to apply for assistance must make its statement of activities available to the public for comment. The applicant(s) must announce the availability of its statement of activities for review in a newspaper of general circulation in the project area and allow at least 15 days for public comment. The start of this 15-day period must occur no later than 16 days prior to the last day for acceptance of pre-applications by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Rural Development. Federally recognized Indian Tribes, pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.674, are exempt from the requirement to consult with local leaders including announcing the availability of its statement of activities for review in a newspaper.
All applicants will file an original and two copies of Standard Form (SF) 424, “Application for Federal Assistance,” and supporting information with the appropriate Rural Development State Office. A pre-application package, including SF-424, is available in any Rural Development State Office. All pre-applications shall be accompanied by the following information which Rural Development will use to determine the applicant's eligibility to undertake the HPG program and to evaluate the pre-application under the project selection criteria of 7 CFR 1944.679.
(a) A statement of activities proposed by the applicant for its HPG program as appropriate to the type of assistance the applicant is proposing, including:
(1) A complete discussion of the type of and conditions for financial assistance for housing preservation, including whether the request for assistance is for a homeowner assistance program, a rental property assistance program, or a cooperative assistance program;
(2) The process for selecting recipients for HPG assistance, determining housing preservation needs of the dwelling, performing the necessary work, and monitoring/inspecting work performed;
(3) A description of the process for coordinating with other public and private organizations and programs that provide assistance in rehabilitation of historic properties in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.673;
(4) The development standard(s) the applicant will use for the housing preservation work; and, if not the Rural Development standards for existing dwellings, the evidence of its acceptance by the jurisdiction where the grant will be implemented;Start Printed Page 29531
(5) The time schedule for completing the program;
(6) The staffing required to complete the program;
(7) The estimated number of very low- and low-income minority and nonminority persons the grantee will assist with HPG funds; and, if a rental property or cooperative assistance program, the number of units and the term of restrictive covenants on their use for very low- and low-income;
(8) The geographical area(s) to be served by the HPG program;
(9) The annual estimated budget for the program period based on the financial needs to accomplish the objectives outlined in the proposal. The budget should include proposed direct and indirect administrative costs, such as personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contracts, and other cost categories, detailing those costs for which the grantee proposes to use the HPG grant separately from non-HPG resources, if any. The applicant budget should also include a schedule (with amounts) of how the applicant proposes to draw HPG grant funds, i.e., monthly, quarterly, lump sum for program activities, etc.;
(10) A copy of an indirect cost proposal when the applicant has another source of Federal funding in addition to the Rural Development HPG program;
(11) A brief description of the accounting system to be used;
(12) The method of evaluation to be used by the applicant to determine the effectiveness of its program which encompasses the requirements for quarterly reports to Rural Development in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.683(b) and the monitoring plan for rental properties and cooperatives (when applicable) according to 7 CFR 1944.689;
(13) The source and estimated amount of other financial resources to be obtained and used by the applicant for both HPG activities and housing development and/or supporting activities;
(14) The use of program income, if any, and the tracking system used for monitoring same;
(15) The applicant's plan for disposition of any security instruments held by them as a result of its HPG activities in the event of its loss of legal status;
(16) Any other information necessary to explain the proposed HPG program; and
(17) The outreach efforts outlined in 7 CFR 1944.671(b).
(b) Complete information about the applicant's experience and capacity to carry out the objectives of the proposed HPG program.
(c) Evidence of the applicant's legal existence, including, in the case of a private non-profit organization, which may include, but not be limited to, Faith-Based and community organizations, a copy of, or an accurate reference to, the specific provisions of State law under which the applicant is organized; a certified copy of the applicant's Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws or other evidence of corporate existence; certificate of incorporation for other than public bodies; evidence of good standing from the State when the corporation has been in existence 1 year or more; and the names and addresses of the applicant's members, directors and officers. If other organizations are members of the applicant-organization, or the applicant is a consortium, pre-applications should be accompanied by the names, addresses, and principal purpose of the other organizations. If the applicant is a consortium, documentation showing compliance with paragraph (4)(ii) under the definition of “organization” in 7 CFR 1944.656 must also be included.
(d) For a private non-profit entity, which may include, but not be limited to, Faith-Based and community organizations, the most recent audited statement and a current financial statement dated and signed by an authorized officer of the entity showing the amounts and specific nature of assets and liabilities together with information on the repayment schedule and status of any debt(s) owed by the applicant.
(e) A brief narrative statement which includes information about the area to be served and the need for improved housing (including both percentage and the actual number of both low-income and low-income minority households and substandard housing), the need for the type of housing preservation assistance being proposed, the anticipated use of HPG resources for historic properties, the method of evaluation to be used by the applicant in determining the effectiveness of its efforts.
(f) A statement containing the component for alleviating any overcrowding as defined by 7 CFR 1944.656.
(g) A signed copy of the documentation in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.673 (as a companion to (a)(3) above);
(h) The applicant must submit written statements and related correspondence reflecting compliance with 7 CFR 1944.674(a) and (c) regarding consultation with local Government leaders in the preparation of its program and the consultation with local and State Government pursuant to the provisions of Executive Order 12372.
(i) The applicant is to make its statement of activities available to the public for comment prior to submission to Rural Development pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.674(b). The application must contain a description of how the comments (if any were received) were addressed.
(j) The applicant must submit an original and one copy of Form RD 400-1, “Equal Opportunity Agreement,” and Form RD 400-4, “Assurance Agreement,” in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.676.
Applicants should review 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N for a comprehensive list of all application requirements.
3. Address unique entity identifier and System for Award Management (SAM): As part of the application, all applicants, except for individuals or agencies excepted under 2 CFR 25.110(d), must be: (1) Registered in the System for Award Management (SAM); (2) provide a valid unique entity identifier in its applications; and (3) maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or application. An award may not be made to the applicant until the applicant has complied with the unique entity identifier and SAM requirements.
4. Intergovernmental Review: The HPG program is subject to the provisions of Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials.
5. Funding Restrictions: There are no limits on proposed direct and indirect costs. Expenses incurred in developing pre-applications will be at the applicant's risk.
6. Other Submission Requirements: To comply with the President's Management Agenda, USDA is participating as a partner in the Government-wide grants.gov site. Housing Preservation Grants [Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance #10.433] is one of the programs included at this website. If you are an applicant under the HPG program, you may submit your pre-application to the Agency in either electronic or paper format. Please be mindful that the pre-application deadline for electronic format differs from the deadline for paper format. The electronic format deadline will be based on Eastern Standard Time. The paper format deadline is local time for each Rural Development State Office.
Users of Grants.gov will be able to download a copy of the pre-application Start Printed Page 29532package, complete it off line, and then upload and submit the application via the Grants.gov site. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant pre-application to USDA Rural Development; however, the Agency encourages your participation in Grants.gov.
The following are useful tips and instructions on how to use the website:
- When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site as well as the hours of operation. USDA-Rural Development strongly recommends that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process through Grants.gov. To use Grants.gov, applicants must have a DUNS number.
- You may submit all documents electronically through the website, including all information typically included on the Application for Housing Preservation Grants, and all necessary assurances and certifications.
- After you electronically submit your application through the website, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement from Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov tracking number.
- RHS may request that you provide original signatures on forms at a later date.
- If you experience technical difficulties on the closing date and are unable to meet the 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) deadline, print out your application and submit it to your State Office, you must meet the closing date and local time deadline.
- Please note that you must locate the downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA Number or FedGrants Funding Opportunity Number, which can be found at http://www.grants.gov.
In addition to the electronic pre-application at the http://www.grants.gov website, all applicants must complete and submit the FY 2018 pre-application package, detailed later in this Notice, for the Section 533 HPG program. A copy of a suggested coversheet is included with this Notice. Applicants are encouraged to submit this pre-application coversheet electronically by accessing the website: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/housing-preservation-grants. Click on the Forms & Resources tab to access the “FY 2018 Pre-application for Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants (HPG).”
Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to also provide an electronic copy of all hard copy forms and documents submitted in the pre-application/application package as requested by this Notice. The forms and documents must be submitted as read-only Adobe Acrobat PDF files on an electronic media such as CDs, DVDs or USB drives. For each electronic device that you submit, you must include a Table of Contents listing all of the documents and forms on that device. The electronic medium must be submitted to the local Rural Development State Office where the project will be located.
Please Note: If you receive a loan or grant award under this Notice, USDA reserves the right to post all information that is not protected by the Privacy Act submitted as part of the pre-application/application package on a public website with free and open access to any member of the public.
E. Application Review Information
1. Criteria. All paper applications for Section 533 HPG funds must be filed with the appropriate Rural Development State Office and all paper or electronic applications must meet the requirements of this Notice and 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N. Pre-applications determined not eligible and/or not meeting the selection criteria will be notified by the Rural Development State Office.
2. Review and Selection Process. The Rural Development State Offices will utilize the following threshold project selection criteria for applicants in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.679:
(a) Providing a financially feasible program of housing preservation assistance. “Financially feasible” is defined as proposed assistance which will be affordable to the intended recipient or result in affordable housing for very low- and low-income persons.
(b) Serving eligible rural areas with a concentration of substandard housing for households with very low- and low-income.
(c) Being an eligible applicant as defined in 7 CFR 1944.658.
(d) Meeting the requirements of consultation and public comment in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.674.
(e) Submitting a complete pre-application as outlined in 7 CFR 1944.676.
3. Scoring. For applicants meeting all of the requirements listed above, the Rural Development State Offices will use weighted criteria in accordance with 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N as selection for the grant recipients. Each pre-application and its accompanying statement of activities will be evaluated and, based solely on the information contained in the pre-application, the applicant's proposal will be numerically rated on each criteria within the range provided. The highest-ranking applicant(s) will be selected based on allocation of funds available to the State.
(a) Points are awarded based on the percentage of very low-income persons that the applicant proposes to assist, using the following scale:
(1) More than 80%: 20 points
(2) 61% to 80%: 15 points
(3) 41% to 60%: 10 points
(4) 20% to 40%: 5 points
(5) Less than 20%: 0 points
(b) The applicant's proposal may be expected to result in the following percentage of HPG fund use (excluding administrative costs) to total cost of unit preservation. This percentage reflects maximum repair or rehabilitation with the least possible HPG funds due to leveraging, innovative financial assistance, owner's contribution or other specified approaches. Points are awarded based on the following percentage of HPG funds (excluding administrative costs) to total funds:
(1) 50% or less: 20 points
(2) 51% to 65%: 15 points
(3) 66% to 80%: 10 points
(4) 81% to 95%: 5 points
(5) 96% to 100%: 0 points
(c) The applicant has demonstrated its administrative capacity in assisting very low- and low-income persons to obtain adequate housing based on the following:
(1) The organization or a member of its staff has at least one or more years' experience successfully managing and operating a rehabilitation or weatherization type program: 10 points.
(2) The organization or a member of its staff has at least one or more years' experience successfully managing and operating a program assisting very low- and low-income persons obtain housing assistance: 10 points.
(3) If the organization has administered grant programs, there are no outstanding or unresolved audit or investigative findings which might impair carrying out the proposal: 10 points.
(d) The proposed program will be undertaken entirely in rural areas outside Metropolitan Statistical Areas, also known as MSAs, identified by Rural Development as having populations below 10,000 or in remote parts of other rural areas (i.e., rural areas contained in MSAs with less than 5,000 population) as defined in 7 CFR 1944.656: 10 points.
(e) The program will use less than 20 percent of HPG funds for administration purposes:
(1) More than 20%: Not eligible
(2) 20%: 0 pointsStart Printed Page 29533
(3) 19%: 1 point
(4) 18%: 2 points
(5) 17%: 3 points
(6) 16%: 4 points
(7) 15% or less: 5 points
(f) The proposed program contains a component for alleviating overcrowding as defined in 7 CFR 1944.656: 5 points.
In the event more than one pre-application receives the same amount of points, those pre-applications will then be ranked based on the actual percentage figure used for determining the points. Further, in the event that pre-applications are still tied, then those pre-applications still tied will be ranked based on the percentage for HPG fund use (low to high). Further, for applications where assistance to rental properties or cooperatives is proposed, those still tied will be further ranked based on the number of years the units are available for occupancy under the program (a minimum of 5 years is required). For this part, ranking will be based from most to least number of years.
Finally, if there is still a tie, then a lottery system will be used. After the award selections are made, all applicants will be notified of the status of their applications by mail.
F. Federal Award Administration Information
1. Federal Award Notices. The Agency will notify, in writing, applicants whose pre-applications have been selected for funding. At the time of notification, the Agency will advise the applicant what further information and documentation is required along with a timeline for submitting the additional information. If the Agency determines it is unable to select the application for funding, the applicant will be so informed in writing. Such notification will include the reasons the applicant was not selected. The Agency will advise applicants, whose pre-applications did not meet eligibility and/or selection criteria, of their review rights or appeal rights in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.682.
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements. Rural Development is encouraging applications for projects that will support rural areas with persistent poverty. This emphasis will support Rural Development's mission of improving the quality of life for Rural Americans and commitment to directing resources to those who most need them.
3. Reporting. Post-award reporting requirements can be found in the Grant Agreement.
G. Non-Discrimination Statement
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
(1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410;
(2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) Email: email@example.com.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
Dated: June 18, 2018.
Joel C. Baxley,
Administrator, Rural Housing Service.
Fiscal Year 2018 Pre-Application for Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants (HPG) Instructions
Applicants are encouraged; but not required, to submit this pre-application form electronically by accessing the website: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/housing-preservation-grants. Click on the Forms & Resources tab to access the “Fiscal Year 2018 Pre-Application for Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants (HPG).” Please note that electronic submittals are not on a secured website. If you do not wish to submit the form electronically by clicking on the Send Form button, you may still fill out the form, print it and submit it with your application package to the State Office. You also have the option to save the form, and submit it on an electronic media to the State Office.
Supporting documentation required by this pre-application may be attached to the email generated when you click the Send Form button to submit the form. However, if the attachments are too numerous or large in size, the email box will not be able to accept them. In that case, submit the supporting documentation for this pre-application to the State Office with your complete application package under item IX.
Documents Submitted, indicate the supporting documents that you are submitting either with the pre-application or to the State Office.
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[FR Doc. 2018-13458 Filed 6-22-18; 8:45 am]
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