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Skip Navigation LinksPrograms and Services : Funding Guidelines

The Harris County Community Services Department (HCCSD) provides funding for the provision of community services and affordable housing as funds become available. Any open funding opportunities will be posted as Request for Proposals (RFP). Please contact the Development Manager at (713) 578-2000 with any specific questions or email your questions to RFP@csd.hctx.net.

Prior to responding to available funding opportunities, each qualified organization is encouraged to review the funding guidelines carefully. Please refer to the General Funding Guidelines, Program Specific Guideline and Policy and Procedures listed on this page as guidance.

 

 

 RFP



Community

RFP Community

General Funding Guidelines:

Eligibility 

Fair Housing / Accessibility and
Relocation
 

Environmental / Efficiency

Administration / Monitoring 

Program Specific Guidelines and
Policies:

  

         
 
*Please note the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has released new program  regulations for the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) and HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) programs. Any organization interested in applying for these funds should be familiar with the new regulations*
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

GENERAL FUNDING GUIDELINES

 

Eligibility

Eligible Service Area

All projects, excluding homeless projects, must benefit residents of Harris County’s service area, which includes unincorporated Harris County and the 12 cities within the County that have signed cooperative agreements. Presently, the County has cooperative agreements with the following cities: Deer Park, Galena Park, Humble, Jacinto City, Katy, La Porte, Morgan’s Point, Seabrook, Shoreacres, South Houston, Tomball, and Webster. Houston, Baytown and Pasadena utilize their own community development resources and are not within the Harris County service area.

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Eligible Applicants

Non-profit organizations (including faith-based organizations providing services in a secular manner), for-profit developers of affordable housing, municipalities and local governments who deliver services to low-income clients within Harris County’s service area may apply for funding.  All non-profit organizations must have non-profit status with supporting documentation from the IRS at the time of application to be considered for funding through Harris County.
 

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Religious Organizations

A religious organization that participates in a federal program will retain its independence from Federal, State and local governments, and may continue to carry out its mission, including the definition, practice, and expression of its religious beliefs, provided that it does not use federal funds to support any inherently religious activities, such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization. Among other things, faith-based organizations may use space in their facilities, without removing religious art, icons, scriptures, or other religious symbols. In addition, a federally-funded religious organization retains its authority over its internal governance, and it may retain religious terms in its organization’s name, select its board members on a religious basis, and include religious references in its organization’s mission statements and other governing documents. An organization that participates in a federal program shall not, in providing program assistance, discriminate against a program beneficiary or prospective program beneficiary on the basis of religion or religious belief.

Federal funds may not be used for the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of structures to the extent that those structures are used for inherently religious activities. Federal funds may be used for the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of structures only to the extent that those structures are used for conducting eligible activities. Where a structure is used for both eligible and inherently religious activities, federal funds may not exceed the cost of those portions of the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation that are attributable to eligible activities in accordance with the cost accounting requirements applicable to federal funds.  Sanctuaries, chapels or other rooms that a federally-funded religious congregation uses as its principal place of worship, however, are ineligible for federally-funded improvements.  Disposition of real property after the term of the award, or any change in use of the property during the term of the award, is subject to government-wide regulations governing real property disposition (see 24 CFR parts 84 and 85). 
 

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Income Limits

In general, entitlement funds administered by Harris County are to be used for services to low-income persons, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on an annual basis.  Low-income is defined as earning less than 80 percent of the median family income (MFI).  The MFI and Income Limit Categories for the Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land, Texas, HUD Metro FMR Area can be found at http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/il/il2014/2014summary.odn. Please note that these limits are updated annually.   


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Conflict of Interest

The standards in OMB Circular A-110, Subpart C, provide that no employee, officer, or agent shall participate in the selection, award, or administration of a contract supported by Federal funds if a real or perceived conflict of interest would be involved. Such a conflict would arise when an employee, officer, or agent, any member of his or her immediate family, his or her partner, or an organization which employs or is about to employ any of the parties indicated herein, has a financial or other interest in the firm selected for an award.  All organizations must complete and submit the Conflict of Interest Disclosure section of the application to document any perceived or actual conflict of interest.


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Tax Policy for all Applicants

Pursuant to TX Local Government Code 262.0276, Harris County requires that all applicants’ taxes be current to be eligible for assistance. Whether or not an applicant’s taxes are delinquent will be determined by an independent review of the Tax Office records.  Applicants who believe a delinquency is reflected in error must contact the Tax Office to correct any errors or discrepancies prior to submitting their proposal in order to ensure that their proposal will be considered.  Tax records are available online at the Tax Office website found at www.hctax.net/.  Prior to submitting a proposal, applicants are encouraged to visit the Tax Office website, set up a portfolio of their accounts and make their own initial determination of the status of their tax accounts.  Furthermore, if during the performance of this contract, an applicant’s taxes become delinquent, Harris County reserves the right to provide notice to the Auditor or Treasurer pursuant to Texas Local Government Code §154.045.

 

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Housing Site Selection

HCCSD encourages development on sites that are within the context of existing communities and build upon the unique character of the surrounding neighborhood. All housing developments should fit into and enhance existing neighborhoods and meet all requirements. The location of a proposed housing development (multi-unit or single-family) is a critical aspect in determining its viability and overall success. Both key elements that factor into whether HCCSD can consider funding the proposed housing development. Developers interested in applying to HCCSD should review the Harris County Affordable Housing Standards comply with the following when selecting a housing development’s location. 

Service Area

All proposed housing developments must be located inside Harris County and within Harris County’s Service Area unless the population to be served is homeless. See Eligible Service Area for additional information.

Site and Neighborhood Standards

HCCSD evaluates all proposed affordable housing projects to determine if they comply with the Site and Neighborhood Standards set by HUD at 24 CFR 983.6(b). HUD’s standards determine HCCSD’s criteria for evaluating each site and vary depending on if the proposed project is rehabilitation or new construction. New construction projects are subject to a more extensive evaluation as factors such as area minority concentration, community housing needs and comparable housing opportunities in the community are reviewed. Developers should review Tab II: Site Selection & Neighborhood Compatibility of the HCCSD Affordable Housing Standards before submitting an application to ensure the proposed site complies.

High/Low Opportunity Areas

HCCSD prioritizes projects that are located in designated High Opportunity Areas or an area that has a comprehensive revitalization plan that sets forth a goal of increasing affordable housing and where Harris County has made significant investments in infrastructure/public facilities. Applicants should review the Harris County Opportunity and Community Development Target Areas Map to determine if the proposed housing development site or sites are in a high or low opportunity area. If the project is not located in a high opportunity area, include supporting documentation of revitalization plans or significant Harris County investments in the area in the application.    

Affordable Multi-unit Family and Senior Housing Concentration Policy          

HCCSD must ensure that affordable housing opportunities in Harris County are viable and self-supporting projects that effectively supply the local communities’ demand for affordable multi-family/senior units. To that end, HCCSD utilizes criteria within the Affordable Multi-unit Family and Senior Housing Concentration Policy (Concentration Policy) that is designed to evaluate the dispersal of subsidized multi-unit housing throughout the county’s service area. Proposed new construction, multi-unit housing developments are subject to the Concentration Policy. The complete Concentration Policy is available at Tab VI: Appendix Multi-Unit Concentration Policy of the HCCSD Affordable Housing Standards.

 

 

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Good Neighbor Policy

HCCSD highly values quality public input addressing the merits of a development.  Applicants must provide written notification to all neighborhood organizations within a 2 mile radius of the development.

Affordable housing applicants should receive letters of support from the community in favor of the development as well as hold a public hearing for the subject project.  Notice regarding the hearing must be provided to HCCSD and the surrounding community at least 2 weeks in advance. If the public hearing occurs prior to application submission, the applicant must provide a copy of the notice and meeting minutes.

 

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Fair Housing / Accessibility and Relocation

Section 504

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, provides for equal opportunity to enter facilities and participate in programs and activities. All projects and programs receiving federal assistance must evaluate the current state of accessibility of their programs and activities to disabled participants and employees. HCCSD has published a Guidebook  to guide subrecipients in performing self-evaluation and transition plans if necessary to comply with Section 504.

 

Section 504 and Affordable Housing
 

HCCSD requires those requesting federal assistance for affordable housing to comply with all federal regulations issued pursuant to compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination against the handicapped in any federally assisted program.  Dwelling units designed and constructed in accordance with the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) will be deemed to comply with the Section 504 regulation. Accessible units must be, to the maximum extent feasible, distributed throughout the development and must be available in a sufficient range of sizes and amenities so as not to limit choice.

 

The project sponsor shall, at its sole expense, furnish the necessary inspection personnel to assure itself of compliance with the requirements of Section 504 and UFAS. The project sponsor shall document and report the results of all inspection activities upon request by HCCSD. To comply with Section 504, the project sponsor shall designate and maintain at a minimum, five percent (5%) of the dwelling units in the development (but not less than one unit) that must be accessible to individuals with mobility impairments.  An additional two percent (2%) of the dwelling units (but at a minimum, not less than one unit) must be accessible to individuals with sensory impairments (i.e. hearing or vision impairments), unless HUD prescribes a higher number pursuant to 24 C.F.R. § 8.22(c).

 

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Residential Anti-Displacement and Relocation Assistance Policy

The permanent displacement of homeowners, tenants, businesses, non-profit corporations or farms is discouraged. If permanent displacement is necessary, Harris County and/or its subrecipients, owners or developers must comply with federal regulations found at 24 CFR Part 42, Displacement Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition for HUD and HUD-Assisted Programs as amended as well as 49 CFR Part 24, Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act (URA) for Federal and Federally-Assisted Programs as amended.

 

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Environmental / Efficiency

Energy Efficiency

As a policy HCCSD strongly encourage applicants to incorporate energy savings methodologies and renewable energy in applications for construction projects.  Future applications will include questions in the promotion of energy efficiency. These applications will receive extra points.

 

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Environmental

All action that utilizes federal financial assistance must undergo an environmental review.  The environmental review is meant to be a proactive step for protecting the environment and its inhabitants. It considers both the effects the proposal could create that change its environment and the effects imposed by the environment upon the proposal and its accomplishments.

A complete and clear project description should provide location specific information and geographic boundaries, as well as a delineation of all activities included in the overall scope of the project.  The level of review varies depending on the type of activities a proposed project will involve as well as other factors, such as environmental concerns or location within a flood plain.

No proposed development of new construction of affordable housing may be located in the 100 year flood plain; however, waivers of this policy may be considered when the project serves to improve existing housing conditions in a defined area, and project design requires all ground floor elevations be at least one foot above base flood elevation. Affordable housing applications requesting such a waiver must include justification in its request.

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Administration / Monitoring

Disbursement of Funds

Harris County funds are provided to awarded organizations on a reimbursement basis only. This means that funds will be available to the organization after it has paid for eligible project costs; however, no costs incurred prior to contract approval may be reimbursed. Harris County requires that organizations provide documentation that they will have at least three months of working capital (please see page 16 for further clarification) to cover project costs or have an open line of credit through a financial institution. Working capital must be in the form of liquid assets. Future funding through donations, capital campaigns or other grant sources are not considered working capital.

 

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Regulatory Agreement, Deed of Trust and Intercreditor Agreement Requirements

For all acquisition, construction and rehabilitation projects, Harris County shall require the execution of a Regulatory Agreement, Deed of Trust and Intercreditor Agreement prepared by the County Attorney to secure the obligations of all selected awardees. The Regulatory Agreement is prepared to ensure the affordability of the project while the Deed of Trust and Intercreditor Agreements are utilized to secure performance and recognize all creditors and their positions. Such documents shall be executed near or at the time of commitment of funds under a binding agreement and must be in place prior to any disbursement of grant funds. In all cases, HCCSD policy requires that all liens and Deeds of Trust be subordinated to the Harris County Regulatory Agreement.

 

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Section 3 Requirements

Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 requires that employment and other economic opportunities generated by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) financial assistance, such as Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, shall to the greatest extent feasible and consistent with existing Federal, State and local laws and regulations, be directed to low- and very low-income persons, particularly those who are recipients of government assistance for housing, and to businesses which are located in or owned in substantial part by persons residing in the area of the project.

Section 3 compliance must be adhered to by any public, private, or non-profit agency that is a recipient of over $200,000 in HUD funding for certain construction-related projects.  Additionally, these recipients’ contractors and subcontractors who receive contracts or subcontracts of $100,000 or more must also comply with Section 3. 

The following are types of Section 3 covered assisted projects:

  • Housing rehabilitation
  • Abatement of lead-based paint hazards (excluding routine maintenance, repair and replacement)
  • Housing construction
  • Other public construction, including but not limited to public facilities, and infrastructure projects

 

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Davis-Bacon Labor Act

The Davis-Bacon Labor Act provides that contracts in excess of $2,000.00 (for CDBG), or for the construction of 12 or more units of housing (for HOME) to which the United States (Federal funds) is a party for the construction, alteration and/or repair, including painting and decorating, of federally funded projects which involve the employment of laborers and/or mechanics, shall contain provisions with respect to minimum wages, fringe benefits, payments without deductions or rebates, withholding funds from contractors to ensure compliance with the wage provisions, and termination of the contract or debarment for failure to adhere to the required provisions.

 

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Monitoring Reviews and Technical Assistance

Monitoring is an important component of the Grants Management process. The primary purpose of the HCCSD monitoring program is to ensure that subrecipients of Harris County grant funds carry out their activities in accordance with the applicable federal regulations, agreements for funding, local and state law and policy. Therefore, it is critical that Harris County and its subrecipients maintain the appropriate documentation to support grant funded activities in accordance with federal guidelines and local reporting requirements. 

In conducting performance reviews, Harris County will primarily rely on information obtained from the subrecipient’s monthly and quarterly performance reports, records from on-site monitoring and audit reports.

Performance monitoring reviews typically result in a formal written report from Harris County summarizing the monitoring review and indicating whether the subrecipient was found to be in noncompliance with any applicable regulations or requirements.

If findings or concerns are presented in a monitoring report, subrecipients are given a specific time frame in which to respond to the reported deficiencies.  In addition, Harris County may either provide subrecipients with recommended corrective action, or may require subrecipients to submit proposals for corrective actions for approval.

Subrecipients are encouraged to seek technical assistance whenever needed. Likewise, many times desk reviews of monthly performance reports may lead to technical assistance visits to correct issues before they become findings or concerns during an onsite monitoring visit. 

 

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Recordkeeping

Accurate recordkeeping is crucial to the successful management of grant-funded activities. Insufficient documentation will likely lead to monitoring findings which will be more difficult to resolve if records are missing, inadequate or inaccurate.  For public service activities, organizations receiving funding must complete an Individual Eligibility Form for each individual and household client and maintain supporting documentation in participant files.  If it is determined that the supporting documentation is incorrect or insufficient, reimbursement will be denied for costs associated with the ineligible expense.

The following are some of the written reports and forms utilized by Harris County subrecipients:

CDBG- and ESG-funded Subrecipients (Public Service Projects)

Individual Eligibility Form: Submitted with monthly reports for new participants, provides certification by participant of income, household size and service area.  This form certifies the participant's eligibility prior to delivery of service.  For persons younger than 18 years of age, parent or legal guardian must sign the form.

Project Status Report: This report tracks the number of units delivered per month and cumulatively. When not on target with the contract goal or amount of award expended for the percent of contract time elapsed in the program year, subrecipients must provide an explanation for the shortfall and provide a plan of action to get on target.

Client Data Report: Submitted monthly, this report lists all new and duplicate clients served during the reporting month, as well as the number of units of service per client and other requested demographic information.

Tally Sheet:  Submitted monthly, this report provides a cumulative summary of the number of new persons served by the program during the program year.

Employee Data Report: Submitted monthly, this report documents Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Compliance regarding persons employed in Federally funded programs.

Mid-Year Report:  Subrecipients submit a narrative summary of the project’s activities, goals and evaluation of the effectiveness of the program through the first half of the program year.

Annual Performance Report: Subrecipients submit a narrative summary of the project’s activities, goals and evaluation of the effectiveness of the program for the entire program year.

 
HOME- and CDBG-funded Subrecipients (Affordable Housing Projects)

Construction Period: Weekly Certified Payrolls: In accordance with Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, the general contractor must submit original weekly payrolls for review to the Grantee.

Lease- up Period: For multifamily projects, from the first month in which a HOME-assisted unit is leased until 100% of the HOME-assisted units are leased, a Rental Housing Compliance Initial Lease-Up Report must be submitted each month by the 10th day of the following month.

Affirmative Fair Housing Activities: During the Lease-up Period, the Affirmative Fair Housing Activity Report (HUD form 935.2) must be submitted with the Compliance Report. The report documents marketing activities employed to during the previous month.

Affordability Period: Rental Housing Quarterly Compliance Report must be submitted to Grantee for HOME-assisted units for the duration of the affordability period. The quarterly reports are due as follows: June 10th for the first quarter (March, April, May); September 10th for the second quarter (June, July, August); December 10th for the third quarter (September, October, November); March 10th for the fourth quarter (December, January, February).

 

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Access to Records

HUD and the Comptroller General of the United States, or their authorized representatives in addition to Harris County Staff, have the right to access all  subrecipient program records. 

 

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Program Specific Guidelines and Policies

Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS)

Applicants seeking funding from Harris County in support of homeless serving programs, emergency shelters, homeless prevention assistance, and/or the development of transitional, or permanent supportive housing for the homeless must agree to join the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) managed and operated by the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County. Organizations will be expected to enter all information related to services provided to homeless individuals and families into the HMIS database. To learn more about HMIS visit https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/4447/esg-program-hmis-manual/ or http://www.homelesshouston.org/ to begin accessing the system.

 

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Water and Wastewater Regionalization Policy

Purpose- Harris County and Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) have developed this policy to affirm their position on the issue of water and wastewater regionalization and to establish guidelines for achieving regionalization. With this policy, the County and HCFCD anticipate a reduction in the number of water treatment plants and wastewater treatment plants and a reduction in pollutant loads to waterways by planning or participating in larger and/or more efficient wastewater systems.

Scope- This policy applies to water systems and wastewater systems 1) owned or operated by Harris County and/or HCFCD and 2) funded in full or in part by Harris County, HCFCD, or other funds administered by or received by Harris County or HCFCD.

As owners of several water and wastewater systems, as a regulatory oversight agency for public and private water and wastewater systems, and as environmental stewards of the County’s natural environment, Harris County and HCFCD recognize the manifold benefits to regionalization of water and wastewater systems and hereby affirm their commitment to the concept of water and wastewater regionalization.

Overview- Harris County and HCFCD recognize that water and wastewater regionalization, when properly applied, have the following advantages:

·         Improved treatment efficiency

·         Improved unit cost for treatment

·         Reduced number of wastewater discharges

·         Reduced groundwater extraction

·         Reduced liability from regulatory oversight, permitting, and fines

·         Improved water quality resulting from improved treatment

·         Reduced overall maintenance costs


Please read the Water and Wastewater Regionalization Policy in its entirety. 


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