Neighborhood Enhancement Program Request for Proposals (RFP) February 6, 2017

The program will provide MSHDA funding up to $350,000 statewide for activities directly tied to stabilization and enhancement of Michigan neighborhoods.  MSHDA would like to identify via this RFP multiple entities that would serve as MSHDA direct funded grantees.  Therefore, Requests for Proposals are being invited from any nonprofit (501c3) agency operating within a neighborhood in the State of Michigan.  Selection of awards will be made via a competitive process.  Like our new Division, Housing Initiatives, this program is new and innovative and if after reviewing the details below you determine that your agency has: a neighborhood in need of assistance for any of the eligible component activities; staff capacity; and the financial ability to facilitate and implement activities, please complete the RFP and submit it to MSHDA at 735 East Michigan Avenue, Lansing, MI 48912 no later than March 15, 2017.


MSHDA 2017 Neighborhood Enhancement Program Request for Proposals (RFP)


MSHDA Neighborhood Enhancement Program Chart Attachment 1


MSHDA Exhibits A and B
 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM

Q1:  For the Neighborhood Enhancement Program, is a smaller dollar project more likely to get funding versus trying to get the full $50,000?

A1:  We may reduce requests based on availability of funding.  Requesting a certain dollar amount does not affect scoring.  However, we are looking at overall neighborhood impact.

Q2:  If a project goes of $1,000, what are the terms of the lien?  Who is the second party on the note?  The Nonprofit, or MSHDA?

A2:  Liens are limited to homeowner rehab activities and would be dependent on the amount of funding received per property.  The lien would be between MSHDA and the homeowner. 

Q3:  Defining the term “Neighborhood”
While the term ‘neighborhood’ is used extensively in the RFP document, I did not find an explicit definition of the MSHDA’s interpretation of its meaning and boundaries.  This may have been defined in other documents, or left open to allow defining based on the program or acceptably project specific boundaries.
 
In any case, my question has to do with it allowing for a collection of sites within, let’s say a county or a township with common purpose, or is it defined as a tight geographic entity of a city block or country side adjoining parcels of land and structures?  I am looking at a collection of three historic buildings within a township, with a common 501-C-3 owner serving varying purposes from education to utilitarian storage purposes for artifacts.

A3:  Applicants would need to provide verification that the buildings are located in a primarily residential area and define the neighborhood boundaries within which the buildings are located and how the low/mod neighborhood would benefit.  If the buildings are not geographically located in the same neighborhood then prioritization of each would be required. 

Q4:  Would you please expand on “technical assistance”?  This is listed in the activities not covered.

A4:  That is correct technical assistance is not an allowable activity.  Technical assistance is the provision of hiring consultants who assist grantees with building their capacity to successfully engage in housing activities.

Q5:  Can municipalities apply for the “Neighborhood Enhancement Program” or do we need to work with a nonprofit organization?

A5:  For this RFP submission only a nonprofit 501c3 agency can apply.  The municipality would need to partner with a nonprofit in order to meet the program’s requirements.

Q6:  It appears that the RFP is geared toward single family residential projects, but we have ideas for neighborhood enhancement through public art installation (black and white portraits of neighborhood residents on blighted buildings), a mural on a mixed use commercial/residential building as well as lighting on that building to enhance safety on the sidewalk in front of it. These projects together would serve to enhance safety, walkability, and would beautify the faces of several buildings on an important commercial corridor that is directly adjacent to Kalamazoo's Edison neighborhood.

We're wondering if these improvements would be considered eligible since they are not on buildings that are zoned single-family residential. And if they are eligible, would the lien and the 80% or below restrictions not apply, since the buildings are mixed use?

A6:  This program is not geared towards single family residential projects but instead towards low/mod primarily residential neighborhood enhancements.  Liens are limited to homeowner rehab activities and would be dependent upon the amount of funding received per property.  The lien would be between MSHDA and the homeowner. Properties would be required to be current on taxes in order to participate.

Q7:  For the Housing Initiatives Neighborhood Enhancement Program RFP, a few of the questions / eligibility requirements focus on per unit costs or regulations. Specifically, Exhibit B asks for the number of HRF units and non HRF units, although there are a couple other references to number of housing units throughout the RFP. If we are proposing a pocket park, are these questions to be filled out N/A? Or how should they be addressed?

A7:  Yes, for all questions that do not pertain to your proposed activity, please enter in the statement N/A – do not leave it blank the submission may be deemed as incomplete.  Please note that the information submitted should only be directly related to the proposed activities and it should be very clear what specific funding is being requested. 

Q8:  Are licensed contractors required?  Can neighborhood members be paid to do work as long as it's to code?

Would driveways (not the approach or any part that should be done by the municipality) be considered?

Is the lien payable upon sale without any forgiveness? Or are there special terms that go with it?

A8:  For all proposed activities, licensed and insured contractors are required if they are being hired and paid for with the MSHDA funding.  However, volunteer labor is an acceptable alternative.  Regardless of which option if selected, it needs to be fully described in the RFP submission. 

In order to answer the question regarding driveways we would need additional information including the ownership structure, neighborhood impact, current funding dedicated to this activity, etc. 

The liens will be forgivable based on the amount of investment.  We are not sure what special terms are you asking about.

Q9:  Will the awards be limited to one per county?  Or can multiple agencies submit requests and possibly be funded?

A9:  With limited funding for this program, MSHDA does reserve the right within the RFP to regional distribution of the funding.  However, it is a competitive scoring process and all submissions will be considered.  It is anticipated that we will select the best submissions primarily based on overall neighborhood impact. 

Q10:  I am reviewing the Neighborhood Enhancement Program RFP and am wondering if a summer program we run would qualify for submission.

During the summer, we employ high school aged children that live at specific apartment complexes in low income areas, to help keep the area clean and well kept. This program has been effective in the past and will be run again this summer to employee low income high school aged children and also to help improve the quality of life for residents at each of the chosen properties of which these programs are run. Does such a program qualify for either Category 1 or Category 2 in the Neighborhood Enhancement Program?

A10: The proposed scenario appears ineligible because it appears not to be a neighborhood activity but rather a multi-family complex activity.  This program will fund licensed and insured contractors to complete eligible activities.  However, it is not designed to finance summer payroll for an ongoing program. 

Q11:  Is this only for Low/Mod communities or areas? Am I reading that correctly?

A11:  Yes, that is correct.

Q12:  What is the source of this money?  Does lead come into play?

A12:  The source of the Neighborhood Enhancement Program is MSHDA funding. 
Lead does not apply to this program. 

Q13:  To be clear County entities are ineligible of applying to this RFP correct?

A13:  A County can partner with a nonprofit and have them apply and the county be included as part of a collaborative effort.  However, the nonprofit would have to be the lead agency applying for the grant.

Q14:  Can a non-profit submit more than one proposal?

A14:  Yes, a non-profit can submit more than one proposal but a prioritization of the proposals would be required.

Q15:  Thank you for the clarification on the intent and parameters of 'neighborhood'.  However, could you please go further with intent of your statement, "then prioritization of each would be required".  Do you mean collectively as an extended neighborhood, or to make proposals on each facility as a separate neighborhood.  Or, have I misinterpreted your meaning of the statement?

A15:  When your proposal is prepared if there is more than one neighborhood identified and/or more than one component activity identified then we want to know what the funding priority of the local non-profit is.  For example:  The request is for $50,000 for two neighborhoods.  Neighborhood A identifies beautification and Neighborhood B identifies public amenity.  If there was not enough funding for both then which neighborhood/activity would be preferred by the non-profit?  If all proposed activities fall within one neighborhood then which activity is the highest priority, second highest, third highest?