The overall score for this Request for Applications is 45 percent, which makes this RFA a moderate risk for applicants.
This Request for Applications (“RFA”) is for the Expansion of the Classic Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (Classic NORC) Program and Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (Neighborhood NORC) Program. The NORC programs “coordinate a broad range of health and social services to help support older residents to age in their own homes and they utilize the strength of the older residents in the design, implementation, and prioritization of services and activities.” This RFA only applies to applicants that have never received NYSOFA funding to operate a NORC in the service area that they are proposing or applicants that currently receive NYSOFA funding to operate a NORC that are different from and does not overlap with a service area that the applicant already received NYSOFA NORC funding for.
The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) is the contracting agency, and the anticipated contract start date will be July 1, 2019.
The maximum award for a Classic NORC program is $200,000 for a twelve-month period. This is not enough funding to sustain a high quality NORC program. Although applicants may combine this funding with other sources and applicants are required to identify community partnerships, $200,000 is not enough “to support the program with adequate levels of staff that possess appropriate qualifications and experience” especially if the NORC must have experienced healthcare professionals and case managers on site.
Additionally, the RFA asks applicants to “Explain the Applicant’s strategies for maintaining funding continuity for the NORC over time, especially in the event that a source of matching funds becomes unavailable or State funds become delayed or reduced. Include how the Applicant will leverage additional resources and funding.” This evaluation question shows that this RFA is risky for applicants because it is difficult to actively identify and track current and future sources of funding with the risk of the State reducing and delaying funding. Nonprofits should not have to prove that they have additional funds and the State should support organizations by providing enough funds to operate a high quality program.
The RFA also states that “final awards are subject to the appropriation of funds in the enacted State Budget. The availability of funding, including any potential increases or decreases in funding, during the subsequent years of the contract are not guaranteed.” This is a risk for applicants because they need to ensure that they have enough resources to sustain the program in case NYSOFA decreases funding at any time during the following years of the contract.
However, we acknowledge NYSOFA for providing start-up funding for new programs and giving applicants eighteen months to spend the initial amount to allow programs to become established.
This RFA requires matching funds of at least 25 percent of the state funding that is awarded, which makes it infeasible for many nonprofit organizations to propose since they might not have the administrative or financial resources in place to cover the match funding requirement. Also, nonprofits may not provide a broad range of services so that they do not have the staffing capacity or resources to share across programs. Instead of requiring matching funds, we encourage the State to develop budgets that include sufficient funding to ensure that providers can deliver the services required in this RFA.
Underfunded Indirect Costs
Closely related to the overall underfunding of this program is NYSOFA’s restriction of indirect costs. This RFP allows a maximum indirect cost reimbursement rate of 15 percent of the total budget, but it places large reporting, compliance, and administrative burdens on the service provider. If the funding was aligned with actual costs, it would contribute to the sustainability of the organizations applying.
The HSC RFP Rater assesses the feasibility, opportunities, and risk in City and State human services procurements. Rater scores are based on the RFP and related documents available to the public via New York City’s HHS Accelerator or New York State’s Grants Gateway. The rater consists of 60 questions developed and tested by a team of procurement professionals. The questions are based on information that is necessary to help prospective proposers assess risk.
Each answer is weighted based on the degree of risk inherent in the subject of the question. Answers that imply low to moderate risk are allotted points on a lower scale range compared to higher risk questions. For compound questions, the answer to both parts must be “yes” or “not applicable” to be considered low risk. Scores are calculated by adding all the question scores together. The higher the score, the greater the risk. The scoring range is from 60 to 230, with 0 percent risk equal to a score of 60 and the maximum risk score or 100 percent equal to 230 points. Users can view the answer to each question by clicking the down arrow next to each section to expand the section.
The HSC RFP Rater is not a substitute for the due diligence necessary to inform individual organization decisions.