FY 1998 SuperNOFA Guidebook

Common Factors for Award

Secretary Cuomo has established a policy of HUD responding to community needs. Therefore, most programs announced in the SuperNOFAs now use five criteria, known as "factors for award", to rate and rank applications in the grant competitions 12. In addition to addressing real need more directly, using common factors for award makes preparing grant applications more manageable for those applying for funding under several different HUD programs.

The factors for award are as follows:

  1. Capacity.
  2. Need/Extent of the Problem.
  3. Soundness of Approach.
  4. Leveraging Resources.
  5. Comprehensiveness and Coordination.

Bonus Points. The SuperNOFA provides for the award of two bonus points for eligible activities/projects that are proposed to be located in federally desginated Empowerment Zones, Enterprise Comunities, or Urban Enhanced Enterprise Communities, serve the EZ/EC residents, and are certified to be consistent with the strategic plan of the EZs and ECs. The application kit contains a certification which must be completed for the applicant to be considered for the EZ/EC bonus points. A listing of the federally designated EZs, ECs, and Enhanced ECs are available from the SuperNOFA Information Center or through the HUD web site.

Put in a slightly different order, the factors can be interpreted in the following manner. "Need/ Extent of the Problem" asks the applicant to describe what the problem is and how severe it is. It also asks whether or not addressing the problem has been identified as a priority by the community. "Soundness of Approach" asks what the applicant plans to do to address the problem. In various ways it asks whether or not what is planned makes sense, is feasible, and is likely to produce positive results related to the problem. "Capacity" asks whether or not the applicant has access to the staffing and administrative resources necessary to successfully implement the planned activities and manage the grant properly. "Leveraging Resources" asks what resources, beyond those provided by the HUD grant, the applicant plans to use in implementing the proposed activities. "Comprehensiveness and Coordination" asks how the applicant�s proposed activities relate to other activities/strategies taking place in the community. It also asks the extent to which the applicant is involved in broader discussions about how community resources are allocated.

The content of these five factors may vary slightly and be measured differently during the application review according to the goals of specific programs. For example, the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative might measure "need" as the extent of brownfields and poverty in a target community; whereas, Youthbuild might measure "need" as the proportion of young high school dropouts and poverty in a community. The User�s Guide is a supplement to the SuperNOFAs, not a replacement. Applicants must refer to the SuperNOFAs and program application kits for details on how each program defines and measures these factors. The following is a more detailed discussion of each factor.

Factor 1�Capacity�addresses the extent to which the applicant has the organizational resources necessary to successfully implement the proposed activities in a timely manner. Such resources include a staff of sufficient size possessing knowledge and experience in the proposed activities. In cases where the applicant will utilize personnel not considered staff of the organization the applicant may be asked to demonstrate timely and easy access to qualified experts/professionals. Relevant experience may include experience in managing grants. In cases where the applicant previously received funding related to the program area from which funding is currently being sought experience may be evaluated in terms of the applicant�s ability to achieve measurable progress in implementing its most recent grant awards.

Factor 2�Need/Extent of the Problem�refers to the extent to which there is an urgent need for funding the proposed activities to address a documented need in the community or target area where the activities will take place. Applicants should focus on demonstrating the extent of the problem in the geographical area that will be targeted by the program. For example, when an applicant proposes to target activities to a particular neighborhood, it should document the extent of need in that neighborhood, as opposed to the larger community in which the neighborhood is located. The need should be relevant to the intent of the proposed activities and documented using sound and reliable data wherever possible. Where firm statistical data are not available for the target area other means of documenting need are acceptable. Wherever possible, applicants are encouraged to link the documentation of need to needs and data identified in the community�s Consolidated Plan or Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice 13.

To obtain a copy of your community�s Consolidated Plan contact the community development office of your local government or your local HUD field office. A list of HUD field offices and phone numbers is provided in Appendix A (Persons with hearing or speech impediments may access any of those numbers via TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339). To obtain a copy of your community�s Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice contact the housing and community development office of your local government. Small cities which are Community Development Block Grant nonentitlement communities should contact the offices of their state government instead of their local government for copies of the Consolidated Plan and/or Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice.

Factor 3�Soundness of Approach�addresses the quality and appropriateness of the applicant�s proposed program. The exact criteria that will be considered in rating this factor will vary by program, and are detailed in the SuperNOFAs. Examples of some criteria that might be considered include the extent to which: 1) the work plan details the specific activities to be performed and benefits to be achieved; 2) the activities in the plan give priority to the needs identified in factor two; 3) the activities proposed in the work plan affirmatively further fair housing; 4) the activities in the plan will produce measurable results related to the purposes of the grant program in a reasonable time period; 5) the activities will produce products or ideas that can be used in other communities; and 6) the activities in the plan further the policy priorities of HUD.

Factor 4�Leveraging Resources�refers to the ability of grant applicants to secure resources beyond those provided by the specific program from which the applicant is seeking funds. The purpose of this factor is to encourage applicants to obtain resources which can be combined with HUD�s program resources to increase the chances of achieving the purposes of the specific activities being proposed. Resources leveraged may include funding or in-kind contributions, such as services or equipment. Partners providing the leveraged resources may include governmental entities, public or private nonprofit organizations, for-profit private organizations, individuals, or other entities willing to partner with the applicant. This factor focuses on resources to be allocated to the specific activities being proposed by the applicant; therefore, applicants should give special consideration to creating partnerships that are appropriate for designing and implementing the proposed activities, as opposed to simply including as many organizations as possible.

Factor 5�Comprehensiveness and Coordination�addresses whether or not the strategy proposed by the applicant is comprehensive and coordinated with related activities in the community. The purpose of this factor is to ensure that, wherever possible, grantees do not operate programs in isolation, but instead link them to related activities and organizations to improve the overall effectiveness of all efforts being undertaken in a particular community. Where appropriate, this factor also assesses whether or not the applicant has been, or plans to become, involved with the Consolidated Planning process.

Readers should note that while coordination is referenced in both factor 4 and factor 5 there are subtle, but important, distinctions between the types of coordination addressed by each factor. Factor 4 addresses coordination within a specific project, while factor 5 addresses the extent to which applicants coordinate their proposed activities, and are involved in general, with other entities in the community. For example, if an applicant were applying for funding from the Lead-based Paint Hazard Control program to use to reduce lead-based paint hazards in a target community, factor 4 would focus on additional resources leveraged to implement the lead hazard reduction program. Factor 5 would focus on the coordination between the lead hazard reduction program and broader community development initiatives, such as housing rehabilitation, taking place or planned for the target area and/or the broader community in which the target area is located. Often, a particular program may not have multiple ties to other community efforts, but it is important that the lead organization be at the table when other decisions are being made about community spending. The community as a whole benefits from this interaction.

12 The only programs that will not use these common factors for award are those that have statutory or regulatory provisions which require otherwise. The programs announced in the National Projects NOFA will use similar, but different, factors that reflect their nationwide program characteristics.

13 Both the Consolidated Plan and Analysis of Impediments are described in Part III of this guide.

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Content Archived: July 19, 2012