Questions and Answers - Revised 4/11/2014

  1. Do current Homeless Youth providers have to compete under this RFA?
    • Answer:  YES. The entire program is being rebid at this time. Currently funded providers will not be guaranteed funding under this RFA. They must compete for funding.
  2. Are there any limitations to the service area? May we propose to serve an area greater or less than what we currently serve?
    • Answer:  NO. You may propose to serve any area you choose.
  3. How many awards are expected?
    • Answer:  There is not a set number. The Department estimates having $4.5 million in funding to distribute in FY15 (assumes level funding in the state budget). Funding for programs will vary based on proposed plans and budgets. The Department anticipates funding 25-30 grants.
  4. Is there a minimum or maximum award amount?
    • Answer:  NO. It is expected that the amount requested will be reasonable, justified by the proposal and necessary to implement the program model proposed.
  5. Are there any requirements or limitations to the service area that we can propose?
    • Answer:  NO. Youth will define your proposed service in the application and describe how you will provide the required services throughout the service area proposed.
  6. Do shelter locations get reported on the Site form or on the Placement form?
    • Answer:  The Site Form.
  7. If a significant number of host homes are utilized, do you still need a form for each home?
    • Answer:  YES.
  8. May host homes be utilized to meet the emergency shelter/interim housing requirement?
    • Answer:  YES. In this scenario, each home would be indicated on a Site Form.
  9. If the pages are numbered sequentially AND they must be in the order identified in the checklist, then the Executive Summary will begin on page 1. Will this impact the 20 page limit?
    • Answer:  NO. It is okay for the Executive Summary to be page 3. The page numbers are intended to ensure the order of the application, not to determine the page count limitation. Those will be counted individually.
  10. Will the Casey Life Skills Assessment continue to be a required assessment for the Homeless Youth program?
  11. Will a YASI (Youth Assessment Screening Instrument) assessment be required for Homeless Youth in FY 15? If no, can we still do them?
    • Answer:  NO. The YASI will not be required by the program. Yes, your program can still use the YASI or any other assessment deemed to be necessary.
  12. Do we need to submit multiple copies of the Agency audit? We are submitting 6 additional copies of the application; do we need to submit 6 additional copies of the audit? Will we be required to include the audit on the electronic copy?
    • Answer:  NO. Only one hard copy of the Audit is required. An electronic copy is not required.
  13. We are a homeless shelter that wishes to apply for funding. However, we periodically provide our shelter beds to the local CCBYS programs at no cost. I am afraid that I may need to stop this practice if I need to demonstrate that these are in fact homeless youth shelter beds under this grant.
    • Answer:  There is an inherent relationship between these two programs that is only strengthened by this practice. It is not the intent of this RFA to neither impede nor prohibit that practice. This practice aids in the CCBYS referral process and provides some level of stability for the youth. So long as the proposed Homeless Youth program has demonstrated the capacity to serve the minimum number of youth in the shelter program, the Department will allow those beds to periodically be used by CCBYS providers or other homeless providers for short-term emergency placements.
  14. Do current Homeless Youth providers apply for funding dollars based on what they currently receive or the funding they need to provide services in their proposed program area?
    • Answer:  Applicants will request the amount of funding that will be required to implement the plan that they have proposed.
  15. In the past, Outreach, Emergency Shelter, and Transitional Housing were seen as separate (but linked) services. It appears in the new application that you cannot provide one of the three, that you must provide all three services under your program. Is that correct?
    • Answer:  YES. A holistic approach must be proposed/implemented that includes all components identified in the RFA.
  16. Can these services be done by referrals? Using letters of agreement.
    • Answer:  Subcontracts may be put in place to provide one or more required services expected under the grant, a copy of the detailed agreement(s) must be attached along with a detailed spending plan(s) and narrative(s). For non-subcontracted providers (those for which you will not fund with grant dollars) that will be providing services under the grant, linkages agreements must be provided that detail the specific services that will be provided under the program at no cost.
  17. Is the applicant supposed to do something with Appendix 5 - Cultural Competence Guidelines?
    • Answer:  The project narrative references this appendix and it is provided FYI. There is no additional requirement at this time with regard to this appendix. However, if funded, agencies will be required to provide an assessment and plan at a future date.
  18. In several instances, the RFA refers to youth "regardless of shelter arrangements." Please explain what the RFA means where it states, on page 27 and elsewhere, "detail methods to provide case management for homeless youth regardless of shelter arrangements." 
    • Answer:  This refers to ALL youth, not just those that are that are literally housed in your program.
  19. In regards to Linkage Agreements, page 28 states "include detailed linkage agreements for non-sub-contracted providers where referrals will be made…" Should this be included as a table, or would it be preferable to submit photocopies of each linkage agreement the agency holds?
    • Answer:  A table may be included for ease of reference; however, the RFA requires that if a subcontract will be put in place to provide one or more required services expected under the grant, a copy of the detailed agreement must be attached along with a detailed spending plan and narrative. For non-subcontracted providers (those for which you will not fund with grant dollars) that will be providing services under the grant, linkage agreements must also be provided that detail the services that will be provided under the program at no cost.
  20. Should the Work Plan be submitted as a table, flow chart, timeline or narrative?
    • Answer:  This is at the discretion of the applicant; any of these formats will be accepted. Please understand that these pages, in whatever format, will still be counted within the page limit requirement and must be inserted in the corresponding section and NOT as an attachment.
  21. Will there be any funding for expansion of existing services, i.e. funding additional beds?
    • Answer:  Funds will only be provided to applications that propose a holistic approach as described in the RFA. Grant funds allocated for Capital expenditures and new construction will not be authorized.
      If the question is referring to expanding the number of beds on an already existing program to include additional beds to be utilized by your program - YES. Example: federal or city funded program that currently provides shelter, utilizing this grant to add more capacity (beds) to be utilized by your program.
  22. If we hand deliver the application will we be able to get a receipt?
    • Answer:  YES. Please make sure that you get a receipt if you hand deliver your application. The receipt should include at a minimum the date, time and should have the name of the person that accepted your application.
  23. Does the flash drive need to be labeled?
    • ANSWER:  YES. Please tape to the drive or write on the case if disk the agency name. Please also include any password required to open if necessary.
  24. Are their file format requirements for the USB/flash drive or disk?
    • Answer:  Document formats should be in Microsoft products (word, excel, etc.) or Adobe - PDF. The drive should include ALL items that make up your application. Please do not put additional items on the drive/disk.
  25. Does the new Homeless Youth program change the referral process of kids to DCFS?
    • Answer:  NO
  26. Regarding the length of stay requirements, will the clock restart when a youth moves across program components?
    • Answer:  YES, if necessary. Example: a youth spends 6 months in emergency/interim shelter then moves to transitional living - the youth will still be able to receive transitional services for up to 2 years (or 24th birthday).
  27. Am I able to serve a youth that presents in my service area if their last known residence is outside of my service area?
    • Answer:  YES.
  28. Is achieving a high school diploma or a GED a requirement of the program?
    • Answer:  NO, it is a goal. The department will measure this goal and closely monitor the educational progress made by the youth within the program including diploma/GED attainment or progress. Other educational outcomes will also be monitored.
  29. Is there any change in our ability to serve former DCFS wards?
    • Answer:  NO. We will continue to inform them of the rights they have and the services and benefits that they are eligible for at DCFS and work to encourage them to get in touch with DCFS to receive those services. We will continue to be able to serve these youth - until/unless they return to DCFS.
  30. Are Homeless Youth programs required to refer youth to CCBYS programs?
    • Answer:  YES. All unaccompanied homeless youth under 18 must be referred to CCBYS, unless the situation calls for a DCFS referral.
  31. Are Homeless Youth programs required to serve youth up to age 24?
    • Answer:  The capacity for service provision to all youth in the eligibility range must be demonstrated / addressed in the application. There needs to be a plan /system in place for all ages. However, youth may be prioritized by age and other factors. This should be supported by the description of needs.
  32. Are Homeless Youth programs required to serve youth 14-17?
    • Answer:  The capacity for service provision to all youth in the eligibility range must be demonstrated / addressed in the application. There needs to be a plan /system in place for all ages. If your model does not include the capacity "house" these youth, the plan must describe what will happen with these youth and what services your program will provide to them.
  33. Does the applicant agency have to own/operate all of the housing facilities?
    • Answer: NO. Please refer to questions 16 and 19.
  34. What does street outreach look like?
    • Answer:  Outreach will vary from community to community based on need and circumstances.  However, it is expected that outreach activities will occur throughout the service area.
  35. When recording the placement costs do we capture the basic cost or do we capture the cost that includes all the services that support those costs? Example, 24 hour staffing etc.
    • Answer:  However calculated - be consistent and explain the calculation and what it includes if ou feel it is necessary in the space on the form for additional information.
  36. There is conflicting information in the RFA with regards to follow-up timelines. Please clarify what follow-up periods we should plan for.
    • Answer:  Follow-up will be conducted three (3) months and six (6) months following discharge from the program.
  37. Will there be changes to the eCornerstone system for Homeless Youth?
    • Answer:  YES. eCornerstone will be utilized by all providers to capture youth specific intake, programming, services, outcomes etc. Changes to the current system are expected to be implemented in phases with many changes in place by July 1, 2014.
  38. If we serve a youth that moves across program components, will we have to discharge them and reenroll them into the different component?
    • Answer:  NO. The system will be designed to allow you to simply change the program status while the enrollment is open.
  39. I am not familiar with McKinny Vento, where can I learn more about it?
  40. Where can I find information about where other homeless youth providers are in the state?
  41. When funding decisions are being made, will DHS consider negotiating proposed budgets?
    • Answer:  Although DHS will reserve the right to do so, providers should not request funds higher than their plan.
  42. In the Administration section, reporting of unusual incidents. Do you really want us to report all of those?
    • Answer:  YES. DHS understands that these may be numerous and that you will already be reporting these to DCFS. Therefore, DHS will commit to reviewing this policy in FY15 in an effort to reduce this burden to the extent possible.
  43. If we have a proposed site, will we still complete a Site Form for the site?
    • Answer:  YES.
  44. Are letters of support required?
    • Answer:  NO. Letters of support are okay. Please refer to Questions 16 and 19 as they provide responses regarding linkage agreements and subcontract agreements.
  45. Can an agency submit more than one application under this RFA? Particularly if the proposed service area is dramatically different.
    • Answer:  YES.
  46. Under the emergency shelter component, if I have a mom with her 2 children can they occupy three of my beds? Will that count as one youth served or three?
    • Answer:  YES. They can occupy three of your beds. We will count all, however they will be counted separately. The mom will count as one youth served, we will also count the children as you are in fact serving them. So if you are attempting to project numbers to be served count them separately - example: 35 youth and 15 children.
  47. Will DHS allow wards and non-wards to be housed together?
    • Answer:  YES. DHS does not have an issue with this taking place. However, this is a question better asked of your DCFS licensing representative. DCFS may not allow this in certain circumstances.
  48. If a provider has a part of the continuum of services that is not funded by DHS, for example a HUD funded TLP, how much detail are you looking for regarding non DHS funded programs other than an outline of what the program is and services provided?
    • The application must demonstrate how all required services will be provided through your approach. Detail will be necessary to demonstrate this.
  49. Is it acceptable to include host home retainer fees in our proposed budget?
    • Yes. Please provide sufficient detail in your application to explain how this would be operationalized.
  50. We hold current linkage agreements (6 months old) that apply to the homeless youth population. Should we submit these with our proposal, or should we request more current signed linkage agreements from the same agencies?
    • If these agreements provide sufficient detail regarding services, these would be acceptable. You will need to simply explain that these will be extended.
  51. "Scattered Site" housing is discussed for TLP. For those youth that are 18 and over, does that mean that, for example, 3 young adults can be housed in an apartment, each in separate buildings, without there needing to be staff on site 24 hours (given that there is intensive apartment based support regularly provided to those settings?)
    • YES - and that support is required.
  52. Is on-site supervision required for scattered site apartments?
    • No, see Question 51 above.
  53. Regarding the rent payment for apartment based housing in TLP, can the rent be in the young person's name with the Provider as the payee helping the young person pay the rent?
    • YES
  54. Can providers do Medicaid billing for clinical services to support the operations costs, if the youth is Medicaid eligible?
    • YES
  55. Does a mother+2 children= 3 beds in the "4-bed minimum" for TLP? How about for Emergency housing?
    • The 4 bed minimum is a capacity requirement. We are not requiring that all 4 beds always be full nor are we requiring that they always be available. For Emergency Shelter, this mother would count a 1 homeless youth served and 2 of her children - YES all 3 can occupy a bed, although in many cases these children will require a crib and not a bed. For TLP it is expected that the children would be housed with their mom in the same apartment - this apartment would count as one TLP bed.
  56. If I'm a shelter with 12 beds, and I'm already getting federal funding for 5, and we're awarded DHS funding to support expenses for the other 7, then does that mean both grants are funding all 12, since the operating/personnel expenses run across all 12 beds? Or does it need to be that DHS is supporting 7 and the federal grant is supporting 5?
    • Either option is acceptable assuming that the DHS dollar and the Federal dollar are not paying for the same dollar of expense.
  57. If the latter is true, then if the 7 DHS beds are full and a youth shows up for one of the other 5 beds, do we not include them in our reporting to DHS because they aren't part of those specific beds under DHS?
    • Your call, however, the same youth should not be counted under both programs for the same service.
  58. Under the programming section, can you please specify what exactly the client's rights that are protected by state and federal law for youth are? Is there a specific place for us to access them and are they the same for 14-17 and 18-24 year olds?
    • Client's rights are delineated in various state/federal statutes. They will differ for those youth over 18 as they are considered adults.
  59. Under the administration section, qualifications- "In cases where licensing does not apply, staff qualifications are as follows:" Are programs automatically excluded from applying if their staff does not meet the minimum requirements?
    • For example, our Executive Director does not have a master's degree and case manager's bachelor degrees may not necessarily in a related field (ie engineering). Please still apply. Please additional detail as you deem relevant to justify qualifications for case managers. The requirement is not for the Executive Director to have a Master's degree, it is for an Administrator.
  60. If we are using placements for both emergency shelter and as a transitional living option, should we complete both a Program Site Form and a Transitional Living Placement Form for each placement?
    • YES Please.
  61. The RFA indicates that the Casey Life Skills Assessment will be required. Is this required only for youth up to age 21 or will it also be required for youth up to 24 years?
    • The Casey Life Skills Assessment will be required for youth up to 21 years as this is the upper age for which the instrument has been validated. Casey has indicated that it has been utilized with success for youth up to age 24 but it is designed only for youth up to 21 years. This said, a life skills assessment will still be required for youth up to 24 years. Please feel free to propose the use of the Casey assessment or a different assessment for this population.
  62. Looking at the transitional living component, could you provide more information on the section "The organization must have a supervisory structure that provides for adequate on-site supervision for both staff and youth in residential and non-residential services"
    • This is something that you will describe in your application and justify that it is adequate.
  63. Would the transitional living be expected to have staff on site, or on overnight duty for ages 18+? What level of supervision is considered adequate for this age range/program population?
    • Not necessarily, this is something that you will describe in your application and justify that it is adequate.
  64. Is the RFA available in Word Format? If not, can it be?
    • There is a web version and a PDF version available. All forms are available in PDF, Word and Excel. The RFA document will not be made available in Word. If there are ADA accessibility issues with the current web version, please contact us directly at (217)557-2943.
  65. I have a question in regard to this placement form. In the past when we have had a transitional housing program, we have allowed the youth to find their own apartment. We would subsidize that apartment for up to two years. Do we have to have secured apartments with landlords to fill out this form? How could we ask a landlord to keep an apartment empty until we find a person to fill it? How would this work?
    • This would simply need to be explained in your application. You would list only those known placements.
  66. Who should the cover letter be addressed to?
    • There is no requirement to submit a cover letter. It is a cover page - it is a form that is included in an appendix.
  67. If we provide only two of the three service components, and we want to propose to provide the third through linkage to other providers, is it sufficient to have multiple linkages for expedited referrals, or do we need to contract for actual beds? For example, if we are a TLP and we have linkages to emergency shelters, are we required to arrange for beds which will remain available for our use? And, if we have an arrangement for beds in an emergency shelter run by another provider, would a youth who is placed in one of those beds by our outreach worker be enrolled and counted as part of the grant for our program, the shelter's program, or both?
    • You may contract for beds but you are not required to; linkage agreements may be sufficient; you will simply need to explain how. As for the "who counts who" you will need to work that out with the other provider. The other provider could also consider submitting the application and sub-contract with your organization to provide the TLP portion if that is easier. Either way the application must effectively demonstrate all components. It is not the Department's intent to fund two separate provider grants to provide one whole program, a collaborative application would be recommended.
  68. I am having trouble with the program site form vs. the placement site. Would I use the program site for all offices and the placement site for each foster home and each apartment we have available. On the program site would we check all the service the program can provide? For example for our agency office we check emergency shelter? We provide it through the office but not at the office?
    • Program site - yes offices would go on it, so would your shelter locations (if you foster homes for this then they would go on this form too). The TLP placement form is for youth TLP placements, if you have foster/host homes used for this they would go here. You will not indicate your office provided shelter if it does not provide shelter - your description above - you may make shelter arrangements from the office but unless your shelter in in your office - no.
  69. The application cover page says we must attach a W-9 and proof of nonprofit status. Where should these documents be attached: If they are included directly after the cover page, and they are included in the page numbers, the executive summary would start on page 5.
    • Please include these directly after the cover page.
  70. Are we required to have a match for the Homeless Youth grant? And if so, what is the percent?
    • No, there is no required match for the Homeless Youth grant.
  71. Clarification on what constitutes an outreach event/activity. There are clear situations where these activities should be in multiples. But, other activities, such as meetings with youth at a shelter, hospital, police station, etc.- do those absolutely need to also be done in dyads?
    • These examples would not be considered outreach events/activities - there generally would not be a safety concern at these locations.
  72. I'm noticing that the Q/A hasn't been updated since Mar 21-is this because there haven't been any more questions, or because there's an updating lag?
    • The department's email account has recently had some issues with access. These issues have been resolved and the questions will be posted promptly.
  73. Homeless Youth Spending Plan - In Personnel Services it says: Job Title - Identify the personnel to be used in this project by job title (e.g. officer, assistant state's attorney, secretary, probation officer, etc.). Include job descriptions and current resumes for all staff positions included in the spending plan. I have 16 case mangers on this project. Do I put 16 separate lines with the Job title as a case manager with the individual 16 annual salaries or do I put 1 line for case managers and put in the average salary? I would assume you would want only 1 job description for people with the same title.
    • If job title, hours, salary etc. are all the same, you may combine - not average. If the hours or salaries are different, then you will need a separate line. If the Job description is the same for all, you may include one job description. Make sure the job title in the description matches the title in the budget. If all positions are the same only the salaries vary, enter each and also include in the justification a statement as to why the salaries vary.
  74. Is Match required? If so, can there be a match for an item that we don't request money for?
    • There is no match requirement.
  75. Agency Qualifications asks for the resumes of the agency director, the homeless youth director and the fiscal manager. We are a multi-site organization. Our homeless youth program is run out of one site with a director and ten program directors. Should we submit the resume for that site director position, (which oversees the Homeless Youth program in addition to other programs at that site), or do you want the resume of our CEO?
    • These refer to the "Agency" director applying for the grant. If you feel additional resumes are necessary based on your potentially unique situation, please feel free to include. Please make sure they are clearly labeled so the reviewers will know in which agency the individuals are located. It is not necessary to include "additional" resumes for individuals that will have nothing to do with the program.