Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding the 2018 MDHI CoC NOFA Process (Draft as of 7/5/18)
What is the source of the scoring criteria for scoring element #8 on the NOFA Scoring Tool (Returns to Homelessness)?
The source of the scoring criteria for returns to homelessness is from the Annual Progress Report (APR) submitted by the applicant. Once more emergency shelter data is inputted into the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), we will use HMIS as a primary source. The APR will indicate if the participant exits from the program directly to homelessness. Returns to homelessness over time are shown in the System Performance Report.
Is there a way for organizations/agencies to provide comments or explanations about its project(s) performance since there are no narrative sections being considered by the MDHI NOFA Committee during the scoring process?
Applicants may send a brief letter to Will Connelly (firstname.lastname@example.org) by August 1, 2018. These letters will be shared with the MDHI NOFA Committee prior to scoring. Letters submitted after this date will not be shared.
Does HUD require 100% of vacancies in CoC-funded housing units to be filled through coordinated entry (also known as OneHome)?
Yes. A memo to all CoC-funded housing providers was emailed from Will Connelly on May 8, 2017, indicating that all referrals need to come through OneHome. CoC housing partners were also asked to sign a OneHome Partner Agreement. A blog post was also written to this effect, and HUD issued guidance on this coordinated entry requirement of CoC and ESG resources.
The draft NOFA Scoring Tool scores participation in OneHome in an all or nothing way. For example, all referrals for CoC-funded units must come through OneHome to receive any points. Is this really going to happen? It seems punitive.
As mentioned above, MDHI and HUD have been extremely clear about the requirements around filling vacancies through coordinated entry. It is also MDHI's responsibility to adhere to HUD regulations when coordinating federal funds from the Continuum of Care program so that those funds continue to flow to the region and so that our regional community remains competitive in the national competition.
MDHI's Board of Directors took recommendations from the NOFA Committee and voted on 7/12/18 to score OneHome participation as reflected in the final NOFA Scoring Tool document. If projects have been using OneHome to fill 100% of CoC-funded units between January 1, 2018, and June 30, 2018, then those projects will receive full points. Projects not adhering the the 100% standard will not receive points in this scoring element.
Should renewing applicants send the most current operating year Annual Progress Report (APR) or the last two operating years by August 1, 2018?
Renewing applicants should send the last two years of APRs. If the renewing project only has one year of APR because the project's newness, it should send just one operating year.
When submitting our APRs, should we pull calendar years or grant years?
Our organization/agency has been having trouble generating our APR due to data errors in HMIS. We believe this is an HMIS vendor issue. How would you advise that we proceed with APR submission to HUD and to MDHI?
Please send Joe Baker, Data Coordinator at MDHI, the HMIS Help Desk ticket number. If you do not know the ticket number, please contact Joe Baker for assistance.
The draft NOFA Scoring Tool scores the timely expenditure of grant funds to help avoid sending precious homeless resources back to HUD. To receive maximum points, applicants must have spent 95% or above of project funds. This is great. However, for larger grants, the $50,000 target could be problematic. $50,000 on a $4 million dollar grant is only 1.25% especially for a rapid re-housing project for which actual rents for the last month of the grant are not known until assessments are completed for the prior month. Can the MDHI NOFA Committee keep the 95% and 90% target levels without the hard dollar maximum?
Yes, the MDHI NOFA Committee is recommending to remove the hard dollar maximums from the grant expenditure scoring element.
On the draft NOFA Scoring Tool, how are the points tiered for lower outcomes?
Please refer to this document for an explanation of how points are tiered.
We are seeing higher rates of death of tenants referred by coordinated entry (OneHome). Does a tenant death impact the applicant negatively during NOFA scoring?
No, a tenant death is removed from the NOFA scoring process (removed from the denominator when calculating percentages). A list and explanation of positive versus negative exits in the context of overall homeless system performance can be found here. As coordinated entry prioritizes highly vulnerable individuals, there could be an increased amount of people that pass away shortly after housing because the assessment tool prioritizes morbidity factors. However, MDHI has no data to suggest this change in trends compared to the time period prior to OneHome implementation.
The draft NOFA Scoring Tool could penalize smaller projects as the outcomes are percentage based. Will the MDHI NOFA Committee weight scoring for smaller projects?
The MDHI NOFA Committee is reaching out to national partners to see if/how to address weighted scoring for smaller projects. Applicants who feel that their score may be adversely impacted because of its small project size should submit a brief letter, as stated above, to Will Connelly. The letter will be shared with the MDHI NOFA Committee.
Are Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for SSI/SSDI and other benefits considered increases in unearned income?
We believe it takes longer to fill vacancies through OneHome and are worried that this will affect our project's utilization rates and overall score. How is the NOFA Committee addressing this?
Projects/applicants have been encouraged to provide ample lead time and notice of vacancies to OneHome. As OneHome is prioritizing highly vulnerable households, MDHI recognizes the these households may have more barriers with day-to-day communication and other life stressors (in addition to gaps in the "system" of care) that make it even more challenging to connect to housing. However, MDHI does not see a trend of negatively impacted utilization rates, as participants are typically connected in less than 30 days with few outstanding outliers across the CoC-funded housing portfolio.
We believe it takes longer to fill vacancies for scattered-site versus congregate-based housing, and this could affect utilization rates. How is the NOFA Committee addressing this?
The NOFA Committee will strive to do an apples-to-apples comparison, as there could reasonably be different standards/outcomes with respect to time from referral to placement in permanent housing for single (congregate) site as opposed to scattered site.