The overall score for this Request for Proposals is 53 percent.
This request for proposals (“RFP”) is for the operation of Drop-In Centers for runaway and homeless youth (“RHY”), youth at risk of becoming homelessness, and their families. Drop-In Centers are not shelters, but rather, “resource hubs for the whole borough in which they are located.” They provide an array of supports to prevent and address youth homelessness, including basic food, clean clothing, restrooms, crisis intervention, needs assessments, counseling, case management services, shelter referrals, training, and more. There are two kinds of Drop-In Centers identified in this RFP:
- Competition 1: Daytime Drop-In Centers: Five contract awards, including two awards for Daytime Drop-In Centers located in Manhattan
- Competition 2: 24-Hour Drop-In Centers: Two contract awards, including one award for a 24-Hour Drop-In Center in Manhattan.
Providers seeking to operate both kinds of centers must submit separate proposals for each. The Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) will administer the contracts under this program.
Perpetuation of Inadequate Funding
The overall funding structure for the Drop-In Centers makes this program a risky undertaking for organizations that are not already providing these services, as well as for those without existing resources to compensate for the unfunded mandates in the RFP. The lack of start-up funding is likely a barrier to entry for many providers—especially with respect to the 24-Hour Drop-In Centers. These centers require round-the-clock staffing, which makes personnel planning and budgeting more complex. In addition, the growing compliance, technology, and training requirements for both Drop-In Centers and 24-Hour Centers have a real cost to providers, but the program funding does not support these added costs.
Even the service requirements of this RFP are problematic, because DYCD is adding a full day of service to the requirements (a 20 percent increase in service) while increasing the funding by only five percent over current contracts. Existing RHY Drop-In Center contracts are already underfunded, so this new mandate will only exacerbate the financial strain caused by this program.
Underfunded Indirect Costs
Closely related to the overall underfunding of this program is DYCD’s continued restriction of indirect costs. The RFP allows a maximum indirect cost reimbursement rate of ten percent, but it places larger reporting, compliance, and administrative burdens on the service provider than the previous contracts did. It does not allow for negotiation of an indirect cost reimbursement rate. The RFP does, however, allow for cost-of-living adjustments and increases in indirect costs after Fiscal Year 2019. If these increases (and the base funding) were aligned with actual costs, they would contribute to the sustainability of nonprofit human services organizations.
Extension of Time to Respond
This RFP was released on December 7, 2017, and responses were originally due on January 10, 2018. This gave providers less than six weeks to respond. In addition, major religious and secular holidays fell within the response period, leaving providers with well under 30 business days to craft their responses. Given the RFP requirements (most notably the need for five community partnership agreements and the requirement of separate proposals for those that seek to operate both Daytime and 24-Hour Centers), this timeline was unrealistic and not conducive to high-quality proposals. The deadline was extended by addendum to January 24, which alleviates some of the administrative pressure, but in general, RFPs should allow at least six weeks for providers to respond. For more complex RFPs, such as this one, that period should be even longer.
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 zero percent risk equal to a score of 60 and the maximum risk score or 100% 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 does not substitute for the due diligence necessary to inform individual organization decisions.