Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants for Fiscal Year 2020, 16314-16324 [2020-05984]

Download as PDF 16314 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 56 / Monday, March 23, 2020 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE U.S. Codex Office Codex Alimentarius Commission: Public Meetings of the Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Committee on Contaminants in Foods; the Committee on Food Import and Export Certification and Inspection Systems; the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling, and the Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods U.S. Codex Office, USDA. ACTION: Notice of public meeting changes. AGENCY: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:26 Mar 20, 2020 Jkt 250001 Done at Washington, DC, on March 17, 2020. Mary Lowe, U.S. Manager for Codex Alimentarius. [FR Doc. 2020–06067 Filed 3–20–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Housing Service [Docket No. RHS–20–MFH–0007] Due to circumstances related to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID–19), USDA is publishing this notice to announce that arrangements have been changed to make the public meetings conducted by telephone conference only. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Doreen Chen-Moulec at 202–720–4063 or Mary Frances Lowe at 202–205–7760; U.S. Codex Office, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 4861, South Agriculture Building, Washington, DC 20250. Phone: (202) 205 7760, Fax: (202) 720–3157, Email: uscodex@usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Codex Office is publishing this notice to announce that arrangements for the public meetings for the Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food (March 23, 2020) (85 FR 11047), Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Committee on Food Import and Export Certification and Inspection Systems (March 25, 2020) (85 FR 12887), and Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Committee on Methods if Analysis and Sampling (April 16, 2020) (85 FR 10399), have changed and will be conducted by telephone conference only to be consistent with public health guidance related to outbreaks of novel coronavirus (COVID19). The arrangement for the public meeting of Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (April 30, 2020) (85 FR 13822) will be also be conducted by telephone conference only for the same reason. Please find information on the schedule, telephone conference number and passcode for public meetings at the following address: www.usda.gov/ topics/trade/international-foodstandards/codex-federal-registernotices-and-public-meetings. Please note that the documents related to these SUMMARY: public meetings will remain accessible via the internet at the following address: www.codexalimentarius.org/meetingsreports/en. Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants for Fiscal Year 2020 Rural Housing Service, USDA. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Housing Service (RHS), an Agency within Rural Development, announces that it is soliciting competitive applications under its Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) program. This action is taken to comply with Agency regulations which requires the Agency to announce the opening and closing dates for receipt of pre-applications for HPG funds from eligible applicants. The Agency will publish the amount of funding on its website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/ newsroom/notices-solicitationapplications-nosas. Expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant’s risk. DATES: The closing deadline for receipt of all paper pre-applications in response to this Notice is 5:00 p.m., local time for each Rural Development State Office on May 7, 2020. If submitting the preapplication in electronic format, the closing deadline for receipt is 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 7, 2020. Rural Development State Office locations can be found at: http:// www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/stateoffices. RHS will not consider any application that is received after the closing deadline. Applicants intending to mail applications must provide sufficient time to permit delivery on or before the closing deadline date and time. Acceptance by the United States Postal Service or private mailer does not constitute delivery. Facsimile (FAX) and postage due applications will not be accepted. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information, applicants may contact Bonnie Edwards-Jackson, Finance and Loan Analyst, MultiSUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Family Housing Preservation and Direct Loan Division, USDA-Rural Development, STOP 0781, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250–0781, telephone (202) 690– 0759 (voice) (this is not a toll-free number) or (800) 877–8339 (TDDFederal Information Relay Service) or via email at, bonnie.edwards@usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Priority Language for Funding Opportunities The Agency encourages applications that will help improve life in rural America. See information on the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity found at: www.usda.gov/ruralprosperity. Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Key strategies include: • Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America • Developing the Rural Economy • Harnessing Technological Innovation • Supporting a Rural Workforce • Improving Quality of Life To leverage investments in rural property, the Agency also encourages projects located in rural Opportunity Zones where projects should provide measurable results in helping communities build robust and sustainable economies. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Localities qualify as Opportunity Zones if they have been nominated for that designation by the State and that nomination has been certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury via his delegation of authority to the Internal Revenue Service. To combat a key threat to economic prosperity, rural workforce and quality of life, the Agency also encourages applications that will support the Administration’s goal to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with Substance Use Disorder (including opioid misuse) in high-risk rural communities by strengthening the capacity to address prevention, treatment and/or recovery at the community, County, State, and/or Regional levels: Key strategies include: • Prevention: Reducing the occurrence of Substance Use Disorder (including opioid misuse) and fatal E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 56 / Monday, March 23, 2020 / Notices substance-related overdoses through community and provider education and harm reduction measures such as the strategic placement of overdose reversing devices, such as naloxone; • Treatment: Implementing or expanding access to evidence-based treatment practices for Substance Use Disorder (including opioid misuse) such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT); and • Recovery: Expanding peer recovery and treatment options that help people start and stay in recovery. To focus investments in areas with the largest opportunity for growth in prosperity, the Agency encourages applications that serve the smallest communities with the lowest incomes, with an emphasis on areas where at least 20 percent of the population is living in poverty, according to the American Community Survey data by census tracts. Overview Federal Agency Name: Rural Housing Service, USDA. Funding Opportunity Title: Housing Preservation Grants. Announcement Type: Notice. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 10.433. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Paperwork Reduction Act The reporting requirements contained in this Notice have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under OMB Number 0575–0115. A. Program Description The HPG program is a grant program, authorized under 42 U.S.C. 1490m and implemented at 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N, which provides qualified public agencies, private non-profit organizations including, but not limited to, Faith-Based and neighborhood partnerships, and other eligible entities; grant funds to assist low- and very lowincome homeowners in repairing and rehabilitating their homes in rural areas. In addition, the HPG program assists cooperative housing complexes and rental property owners in rural areas in repairing and rehabilitating their units if they agree to make such units available to very low- and low- income persons. Rental property owners can include Section 515 rental properties if the eligibility requirements for the HPG program are met. In accordance with 7 CFR part 1944.663, rental property owners must agree to make the units repaired or rehabilitated available for occupancy to very low- or low-income persons for a period of not less than 5 years. The minimum 5-year restriction to rent the very low- and low- income VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:26 Mar 20, 2020 Jkt 250001 tenants will only apply to the units that are repaired with the HPG funding. Any units within the property that were not repaired with HPG funding will not be subject to the 5-year restriction. B. Federal Award Information The funding instrument for the HPG program will be a grant agreement. The term of the grant can vary from 1 to 2 years, depending on available funds and demand. No maximum or minimum grant levels have been established at the National level. In accordance with 7 CFR 1944.652, coordination and leveraging of funding for repair and rehabilitation activities with housing and community development organizations or activities operating in the same geographic area are expected, but not required. You should contact the Rural Development State Office to determine the allocation. HPG applicants who were previously selected for HPG funds are eligible to submit new applications to apply for fiscal year (FY) 2020 HPG program funds. The amount of funding available for the HPG program may be found at the following link: http://www.rd.usda.gov/ programs-services/housingpreservation-grants. In addition, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (Pub. L. 116–6) set-aside for grants located in Rural Economic Area Partnership Zones (REAP Zones). The State Office will indicate on the list submitted to the National Office if the application is eligible for the REAP Zones set-aside. The National Office will then compile a national list, rank the REAP Zones applicants based on the point allocations set forth in this Federal Register Notice, and distribute the HPG REAP Zones set-aside starting with the highest scoring eligible HPG REAP Zones applicants. Other funds will be distributed under a formula allocation to States pursuant to 7 CFR part 1940, subpart L, ‘‘Methodology and Formulas for Allocation of Loan and Grant Program Funds.’’ Decisions on funding will be based on preapplication scores. Anyone interested in submitting an application for funding under this program is encouraged to consult the Rural Development website periodically for updated information regarding the status of funding authorized for this program. The commitment of program dollars will be made to selected applicants that have fulfilled the necessary requirements for obligation. C. Eligibility Information 1. Eligible Applicants. Eligible entities for these competitively awarded grants PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16315 include State and local Governments, non-profit corporations; which may include, but not be limited to FaithBased and community organizations, federally recognized Indian Tribes, and consortia of eligible entities. HPG applicants who were previously selected for HPG funds are eligible to submit new applications to apply for FY 2020 HPG program funds. More eligibility requirements can be found at 7 CFR 1944.658, 1944.661, and 1944.662. 2. Cost Sharing or Matching. Pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.652, grantees are expected to coordinate and leverage funding for repair and rehabilitation activities; as well as replacement housing, with housing and community development organizations or activities operating in the same geographic area. While HPG funds may be leveraged with other resources, cost sharing or matching is not a requirement for the HPG applicant as the HPG applicant would not be denied an award of HPG funds if all other project selection criteria have been met. 3. Other. Awards made under this Notice are subject to the provisions contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (Pub. L. 116– 6) sections 744 and 745 regarding Corporate Felony Convictions and Corporate Federal Tax Delinquencies. To comply with these provisions, only applicants that are or propose to be corporations will submit this form as part of their pre-application. Form AD– 3030, ‘‘Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants,’’ can be found here: http://www.ocio.usda.gov/ document/ad3030. D. Application and Submission Information 1. Address to Request Application Package: Applicants wishing to submit a paper application in response to this Notice must contact the Rural Development State Office serving the State of the proposed HPG housing project in order to receive further information and copies of the paper application package. You may find the addresses and contact information for each State Office following this link: http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/ state-offices. Rural Development will date and time stamp incoming paper applications to evidence timely receipt and; upon request, will provide the applicant with a written acknowledgment of receipt. You may access the electronic grant preapplication for Housing Preservation Grants at: http://www.grants.gov. E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 16316 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 56 / Monday, March 23, 2020 / Notices 2. Content and Form of Application: 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N provides details on what information must be contained in the pre-application package. Entities wishing to apply for assistance should contact the Rural Development State Office to receive further information, the State allocation of funds, and copies of the preapplication package. Unless otherwise noted, applicants wishing to apply for assistance must make its statement of activities available to the public for comment. The applicant(s) must announce the availability of its statement of activities for review in a newspaper of general circulation in the project area and allow at least 15 days for public comment. The start of this 15day period must occur no later than 16 days prior to the last day for acceptance of pre-applications by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)Rural Development. Federally recognized Indian Tribes, pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.674, are exempt from the requirement to consult with local leaders including announcing the availability of its statement of activities for review in a newspaper. All applicants will file an original and two copies of Standard Form (SF)-424, ‘‘Application for Federal Assistance,’’ and supporting information with the appropriate Rural Development State Office. A pre-application package; including SF–424, is available in any Rural Development State Office. All preapplications shall be accompanied by the following information which Rural Development will use to determine the applicant’s eligibility to undertake the HPG program and to evaluate the preapplication under the project selection criteria of 7 CFR 1944.679. (a) A statement of activities proposed by the applicant for its HPG program as appropriate to the type of assistance the applicant is proposing, including: (1) A complete discussion of the type of and conditions for financial assistance for housing preservation, including whether the request for assistance is for a homeowner assistance program, a rental property assistance program, or a cooperative assistance program; (2) The process for selecting recipients for HPG assistance, determining housing preservation needs of the dwelling, performing the necessary work, and monitoring/ inspecting work performed; (3) A description of the process for coordinating with other public and private organizations and programs that provide assistance in rehabilitation of historic properties in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.673; VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:26 Mar 20, 2020 Jkt 250001 (4) The development standard(s) the applicant will use for the housing preservation work; and, if not the Rural Development standards for existing dwellings, the evidence of its acceptance by the jurisdiction where the grant will be implemented; (5) The time schedule for completing the program; (6) The staffing required to complete the program; (7) The estimated number of very lowand low-income minority and nonminority persons the grantee will assist with HPG funds; and, if a rental property or cooperative assistance program, the number of units and the term of restrictive covenants on their use for very low- and low-income; (8) The geographical area(s) to be served by the HPG program; (9) The annual estimated budget for the program period based on the financial needs to accomplish the objectives outlined in the proposal. The budget should include proposed direct and indirect administrative costs, such as personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contracts, and other cost categories, detailing those costs for which the grantee proposes to use the HPG grant separately from nonHPG resources, if any. The applicant budget should also include a schedule (with amounts) of how the applicant proposes to draw HPG grant funds, i.e., monthly, quarterly, lump sum for program activities, etc.; (10) A copy of an indirect cost proposal when the applicant has another source of Federal funding in addition to the Rural Development HPG program; (11) A brief description of the accounting system to be used; (l2) The method of evaluation to be used by the applicant to determine the effectiveness of its program which encompasses the requirements for quarterly reports to Rural Development in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.683(b) and the monitoring plan for rental properties and cooperatives (when applicable) according to 7 CFR 1944.689; (13) The source and estimated amount of other financial resources to be obtained and used by the applicant for both HPG activities and housing development and/or supporting activities; (14) The use of program income; if any, and the tracking system used for monitoring same; (15) The applicant’s plan for disposition of any security instruments held by them as a result of its HPG activities in the event of its loss of legal status; PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (16) Any other information necessary to explain the proposed HPG program; and (17) The outreach efforts outlined in 7 CFR 1944.671(b). (b) Complete information about the applicant’s experience and capacity to carry out the objectives of the proposed HPG program. (c) Evidence of the applicant’s legal existence, including, in the case of a private non-profit organization, which may include, but not be limited to, Faith-Based and community organizations, a copy of, or an accurate reference to, the specific provisions of State law under which the applicant is organized; a certified copy of the applicant’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws or other evidence of corporate existence; certificate of incorporation for other than public bodies; evidence of good standing from the State when the corporation has been in existence one year or more; and the names and addresses of the applicant’s members, directors and officers. If other organizations are members of the applicant-organization, or the applicant is a consortium, pre-applications should be accompanied by the names, addresses, and principal purpose of the other organizations. If the applicant is a consortium, documentation showing compliance with paragraph (4)(ii) under the definition of ‘‘organization’’ in 7 CFR 1944.656 must also be included. (d) For a private non-profit entity, which may include, but not be limited to, Faith-Based and community organizations, the most recent audited statement and a current financial statement dated and signed by an authorized officer of the entity showing the amounts and specific nature of assets and liabilities together with information on the repayment schedule and status of any debt(s) owed by the applicant. (e) A brief narrative statement which includes information about the area to be served and the need for improved housing (including both percentage and the actual number of both low-income and low-income minority households and substandard housing), the need for the type of housing preservation assistance being proposed, the anticipated use of HPG resources for historic properties, the method of evaluation to be used by the applicant in determining the effectiveness of its efforts. (f) A statement containing the component for alleviating any overcrowding as defined by 7 CFR 1944.656. (g) A signed copy of the documentation in accordance with 7 E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 56 / Monday, March 23, 2020 / Notices CFR 1944.673 (as a companion to (a)(3) above); (h) The applicant must submit written statements and related correspondence reflecting compliance with 7 CFR 1944.674(a) and (c) regarding consultation with local Government leaders in the preparation of its program and the consultation with local and State Government pursuant to the provisions of Executive Order 12372. (i) The applicant is to make its statement of activities available to the public for comment prior to submission to Rural Development pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.674(b). The application must contain a description of how the comments (if any were received) were addressed. (j) The applicant must submit an original and one copy of Form RD 400– 1, ‘‘Equal Opportunity Agreement’’ and Form RD 400–4, ‘‘Assurance Agreement’’ in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.676. Applicants should review 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N for a comprehensive list of all application requirements. 3. Address Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management: As part of the application, all applicants, except for individuals or agencies excepted under 2 CFR 25.110(d), must be: (1) registered in the System for Award Management (SAM); (2) provide a valid unique entity identifier in its applications; and (3) maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or application. An award may not be made to the applicant until the applicant has complied with the unique entity identifier and SAM requirements. 4. Intergovernmental Review: The HPG program is subject to the provisions of Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. 5. Funding Restrictions: There are no limits on proposed direct and indirect costs. Expenses incurred in developing pre-applications will be at the applicant’s risk. 6. Other Submission Requirements: To comply with the President’s Management Agenda, USDA is participating as a partner in the Government-wide grants.gov site. Housing Preservation Grants [Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance #10.433] is one of the programs included at this website. If you are an applicant under the HPG program, you may submit your pre-application to the Agency in either electronic or paper format. Please be mindful that the pre-application deadline for electronic format differs VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:26 Mar 20, 2020 Jkt 250001 from the deadline for paper format. The electronic format deadline will be based on Eastern Standard Time. The paper format deadline is local time for each Rural Development State Office. Users of Grants.gov will be able to download a copy of the pre-application package, complete it off line, and then upload and submit the application via the Grants.gov site. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant preapplication to USDA Rural Development; however, the Agency encourages your participation in Grants.gov. The following are useful tips and instructions on how to use the website: • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the website as well as the hours of operation. USDA-Rural Development strongly recommends that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process through Grants.gov. To use Grants.gov, applicants must have a DUNS number. • You may submit all documents electronically through the website, including all information typically included on the Application for Housing Preservation Grants, and all necessary assurances and certifications. • After you electronically submit your application through the website, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement from Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. • RHS may request that you provide original signatures on forms at a later date. • If you experience technical difficulties on the closing date and are unable to meet the 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) deadline, print out your application and submit it to your State Office; you must meet the closing date and local time deadline. • Please note that you must locate the downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA Number or FedGrants Funding Opportunity Number, which can be found at http:// www.grants.gov. In addition to the electronic preapplication at: http://www.grants.gov website, all applicants must complete and submit the FY 2020 pre-application package, detailed later in this Notice, for the Section 533 HPG program. A copy of a suggested coversheet is included with this Notice. Applicants are encouraged to submit this preapplication coversheet electronically by accessing the website: http:// www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/ housing-preservation-grants. Click on the Forms & Resources tab to access the ‘‘FY 2020 Pre-Application for Section PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16317 533 Housing Preservation Grants (HPG).’’ Applicants are encouraged; but not required, to also provide an electronic copy of all hard copy forms and documents submitted in the preapplication/application package as requested by this Notice. The forms and documents must be submitted as readonly Adobe Acrobat PDF files on an electronic media such as CDs, DVDs or USB drives. For each electronic device that you submit, you must include a Table of Contents listing all of the documents and forms on that device. The electronic medium must be submitted to the local Rural Development State Office where the project will be located. Please Note: If you receive a loan or grant award under this Notice, USDA reserves the right to post all information that is not protected by the Privacy Act submitted as part of the pre-application/ application package on a public website with free and open access to any member of the public. E. Application Review Information 1. Criteria. All paper applications for Section 533 HPG funds must be filed with the appropriate Rural Development State Office and all paper or electronic applications must meet the requirements of this Notice and 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N. Pre-applications determined not eligible and/or not meeting the selection criteria will be notified by the Rural Development State Office. 2. Review and Selection Process. The Rural Development State Offices will utilize the following threshold project selection criteria for applicants in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.679: (a) Providing a financially feasible program of housing preservation assistance. ‘‘Financially feasible’’ is defined as proposed assistance which will be affordable to the intended recipient or result in affordable housing for very low- and low-income persons. (b) Serving eligible rural areas with a concentration of substandard housing for households with very low- and lowincome. (c) Being an eligible applicant as defined in 7 CFR 1944.658. (d) Meeting the requirements of consultation and public comment in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.674. (e) Submitting a complete preapplication as outlined in 7 CFR 1944.676. 3. Scoring. For applicants meeting all of the requirements listed above, the Rural Development State Offices will use weighted criteria in accordance with 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N as selection E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 16318 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 56 / Monday, March 23, 2020 / Notices for the grant recipients. Each preapplication and its accompanying statement of activities will be evaluated and, based solely on the information contained in the pre-application, the applicant’s proposal will be numerically rated on each criteria within the range provided. The highest-ranking applicant(s) will be selected based on allocation of funds available to the State. (a) Points are awarded based on the percentage of very low-income persons that the applicant proposes to assist, using the following scale: (1) More than 80%: 20 points (2) 61% to 80%: 15 points (3) 41% to 60%: 10 points (4) 20% to 40%: 5 points (5) Less than 20%: 0 points (b) The applicant’s proposal may be expected to result in the following percentage of HPG fund use (excluding administrative costs) to total cost of unit preservation. This percentage reflects maximum repair or rehabilitation with the least possible HPG funds due to leveraging, innovative financial assistance, owner’s contribution or other specified approaches. Points are awarded based on the following percentage of HPG funds (excluding administrative costs) to total funds: (1) 50% or less: 20 points (2) 51% to 65%: 15 points (3) 66% to 80%: 10 points (4) 81% to 95%: 5 points (5) 96% to 100%: 0 points (c) The applicant has demonstrated its administrative capacity in assisting very low- and low-income persons to obtain adequate housing based on the following: (1) The organization or a member of its staff has at least one or more years’ experience successfully managing and operating a rehabilitation or weatherization type program: 10 points. (2) The organization or a member of its staff has at least one or more years’ experience successfully managing and operating a program assisting very lowand low-income persons obtain housing assistance: 10 points. (3) If the organization has administered grant programs, there are no outstanding or unresolved audit or investigative findings which might impair carrying out the proposal: 10 points. (d) The proposed program will be undertaken entirely in rural areas outside Metropolitan Statistical Areas, also known as MSAs, identified by Rural Development as having populations below 10,000 or in remote parts of other rural areas (i.e., rural areas contained in MSAs with less than 5,000 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:26 Mar 20, 2020 Jkt 250001 population) as defined in 7 CFR 1944.656: 10 points. (e) The program will use less than 20 percent of HPG funds for administration purposes: (1) More than 20%: Not eligible (2) 20%: 0 points (3) 19%: 1 point (4) 18%: 2 points (5) 17%: 3 points (6) 16%: 4 points (7) 15% or less: 5 points (f) The proposed program contains a component for alleviating overcrowding as defined in 7 CFR 1944.656: 5 points. In the event more than one preapplication receives the same amount of points, those pre-applications will then be ranked based on the actual percentage figure used for determining the points in item (a) in the ‘‘Scoring’’ section of this Notice (7 CFR 1944.679(b)(1)). Example of 1st tie-break: Both Applicants score 80 points Applicant X’s percentage in ‘‘Scoring’’ section item (a) is 65% Applicant B’s percentage in ‘‘Scoring’’ section item (a) is 75% Applicant B is ranked higher than Applicant X Applicant B will be funded before Applicant X Further, in the event that preapplications are still tied, then those pre-applications still tied will be ranked based on the percentage figures used for determining the points in item (b) in the ‘‘Scoring’’ section of this Notice (7 CFR 1944.679(b)(2)). Example of 2nd tie-break: Both Applicants score 80 points Both Applicants percentage in ‘‘Scoring’’ section item (a) is 65% Applicant X’s percentage in ‘‘Scoring’’ section item (b) is 55% Applicant B’s percentage in ‘‘Scoring’’ section item (b) is 60% Applicant X is ranked with a lower percentage than Applicant B Applicant X will be funded before Applicant B Further, 7 CFR 1944.679(c), for applications where HPG assistance to rental properties or co-ops is proposed, those still tied will be further ranked based on the number of years the units are available for occupancy under the program (a minimum of five years is required). For this part, ranking will be based from most to least number of years. Example of 3rd tie-break: Both Applicants score 80 points Both Applicants percentage in ‘‘Scoring’’ section item (a) is 65% Both Applicants percentage in ‘‘Scoring’’ section item (b) is 55% PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Applicant X’s rental unit will be available for occupancy under the program for 10 years Applicant B’s rental unit will be available for occupancy under the program for 5 years Applicant X is ranked higher than Applicant B Applicant X will be funded before Applicant B If any of the applicants that remain tied after the 1st and 2nd tie-breaks are offering to assist single family owners, then the 3rd tie-break would not be applicable, and a lottery would be used to select the applicant to be funded. If there is still a tie after the first two [or three, when applicable] tie-breaks, then a lottery system will be used to select the applicant to be funded. The lottery will be conducted at the National Office. The lottery will consist of the names of each application with equal scores printed onto a same size piece of paper, which will then be placed into a receptacle that fully obstructs the view of the names. The Director of the Preservation and Direct Loan Division, in the presence of two witnesses, will draw a piece of paper from the receptacle. The name on piece of paper drawn will be the applicant to be funded. After the award selections are made, all applicants will be notified of the status of their applications by mail with form AD–622 Form, ‘‘Notice of PreApplication Review Action.’’ Applicants will be given their review rights or appeal rights in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.682. F. Federal Award Administration Information 1. Federal Award Notices. The Agency will notify; in writing, applicants whose pre-applications have been selected for funding. At the time of notification, the Agency will advise the applicant what further information and documentation is required along with a timeline for submitting the additional information. If the Agency determines it is unable to select the application for funding, the applicant will be informed in writing. Such notification will include the reasons the applicant was not selected. The Agency will advise applicants, whose pre-applications did not meet eligibility and/or selection criteria, of their review rights or appeal rights in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.682. 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements. Rural Development is encouraging applications for projects that will support rural areas with persistent poverty and in Opportunity Zones. This emphasis will support Rural Development’s mission of E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 56 / Monday, March 23, 2020 / Notices improving the quality of life for Rural Americans and commitment to directing resources to those who most need them. 3. Reporting. Post-award reporting requirements can be found in the Grant Agreement. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES G. Non-Discrimination Statement In accordance with Federal civil rights law and USDA civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/ parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:26 Mar 20, 2020 Jkt 250001 civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service, at (800) 877– 8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at: http:// PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16319 www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_ cust.html, and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632–9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) Mail: United States Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250–9410; (2) Fax: (202) 690–7442; or (3) Email: program.intake@usda.gov. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. Bruce W. Lammers, Administrator, Rural Housing Service. BILLING CODE 3410–XV–P E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 VerDate Sep<11>2014 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 56 / Monday, March 23, 2020 / Notices 17:26 Mar 20, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 EN23MR20.011</GPH> jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 16320 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:26 Mar 20, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 16321 EN23MR20.012</GPH> jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 56 / Monday, March 23, 2020 / Notices VerDate Sep<11>2014 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 56 / Monday, March 23, 2020 / Notices 17:26 Mar 20, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 EN23MR20.013</GPH> jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 16322 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:26 Mar 20, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 16323 EN23MR20.014</GPH> jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 56 / Monday, March 23, 2020 / Notices 16324 1522. Telephone: (202)720–2825. Email arlette.mussington@usda.gov. [FR Doc. 2020–05984 Filed 3–20–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–XV–C The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) regulation (5 CFR 1320) implementing provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–13) requires that interested members of the public and affected agencies have an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities (see 5 CFR 1320.8(d)). This notice identifies an information collection that RUS is submitting to OMB for revision. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Housing Service [Docket No. RHS–20–CF–0006] Notice of Request for Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection Rural Housing Service (RHS), USDA. ACTION: Notice; comment requested. AGENCY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the intention of the above-named Agencies to request Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) approval for a revision of a currently approved information collection in support of the servicing of Community and Direct Business Programs Loans and Grants. DATES: Comments on this notice must be received by May 22, 2020 to be assured of consideration. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Arlette Mussington, Rural Development Innovation Center—Regulations Management Division, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 4227, South Building, Washington, DC 20250– jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:26 Mar 20, 2020 Jkt 250001 Comments Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) The accuracy of the Agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) Ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent by the Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http:// www.regulations.gov and, in the lower ‘‘Search Regulations and Federal Actions’’ box, select ‘‘[insert Agency name]’’ from the agency drop-down menu, then click on ‘‘Submit.’’ In the Docket ID column, select [insert docket number] to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically. Information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket after the close of the comment period, is available through the site’s ‘‘User Tips’’ link. Title: 7 CFR 1951–E, Servicing of Community and Direct Business Programs Loans and Grants. OMB Number: 0575–0066. Expiration Date of Approval: May 31, 2021. Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved information collection. Abstract: The Community Facilities program is authorized to make loans and grants to public entities, nonprofit corporations, and Indian tribes for the development of essential community facilities primarily serving rural residents. The Direct Business and E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 EN23MR20.015</GPH> Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 56 / Monday, March 23, 2020 / Notices

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 56 (Monday, March 23, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16314-16324]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-05984]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Housing Service

[Docket No. RHS-20-MFH-0007]


Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Section 533 
Housing Preservation Grants for Fiscal Year 2020

AGENCY: Rural Housing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Rural Housing Service (RHS), an Agency within Rural 
Development, announces that it is soliciting competitive applications 
under its Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) program. This action is 
taken to comply with Agency regulations which requires the Agency to 
announce the opening and closing dates for receipt of pre-applications 
for HPG funds from eligible applicants. The Agency will publish the 
amount of funding on its website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/notices-solicitation-applications-nosas. Expenses incurred in 
developing applications will be at the applicant's risk.

DATES: The closing deadline for receipt of all paper pre-applications 
in response to this Notice is 5:00 p.m., local time for each Rural 
Development State Office on May 7, 2020. If submitting the pre-
application in electronic format, the closing deadline for receipt is 
5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 7, 2020.
    Rural Development State Office locations can be found at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices. RHS will not consider any 
application that is received after the closing deadline. Applicants 
intending to mail applications must provide sufficient time to permit 
delivery on or before the closing deadline date and time. Acceptance by 
the United States Postal Service or private mailer does not constitute 
delivery. Facsimile (FAX) and postage due applications will not be 
accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information, applicants 
may contact Bonnie Edwards-Jackson, Finance and Loan Analyst, Multi-
Family Housing Preservation and Direct Loan Division, USDA-Rural 
Development, STOP 0781, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 
20250-0781, telephone (202) 690-0759 (voice) (this is not a toll-free 
number) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD-Federal Information Relay Service) or 
via email at, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Priority Language for Funding Opportunities

    The Agency encourages applications that will help improve life in 
rural America. See information on the Interagency Task Force on 
Agriculture and Rural Prosperity found at: www.usda.gov/ruralprosperity. Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that 
provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust 
and sustainable economies through strategic investments in 
infrastructure, partnerships and innovation.
    Key strategies include:

 Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America
 Developing the Rural Economy
 Harnessing Technological Innovation
 Supporting a Rural Workforce
 Improving Quality of Life

    To leverage investments in rural property, the Agency also 
encourages projects located in rural Opportunity Zones where projects 
should provide measurable results in helping communities build robust 
and sustainable economies. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-
distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, 
may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Localities qualify as 
Opportunity Zones if they have been nominated for that designation by 
the State and that nomination has been certified by the Secretary of 
the U.S. Treasury via his delegation of authority to the Internal 
Revenue Service.
    To combat a key threat to economic prosperity, rural workforce and 
quality of life, the Agency also encourages applications that will 
support the Administration's goal to reduce the morbidity and mortality 
associated with Substance Use Disorder (including opioid misuse) in 
high-risk rural communities by strengthening the capacity to address 
prevention, treatment and/or recovery at the community, County, State, 
and/or Regional levels:
    Key strategies include:
     Prevention: Reducing the occurrence of Substance Use 
Disorder (including opioid misuse) and fatal

[[Page 16315]]

substance-related overdoses through community and provider education 
and harm reduction measures such as the strategic placement of overdose 
reversing devices, such as naloxone;
     Treatment: Implementing or expanding access to evidence-
based treatment practices for Substance Use Disorder (including opioid 
misuse) such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT); and
     Recovery: Expanding peer recovery and treatment options 
that help people start and stay in recovery.
    To focus investments in areas with the largest opportunity for 
growth in prosperity, the Agency encourages applications that serve the 
smallest communities with the lowest incomes, with an emphasis on areas 
where at least 20 percent of the population is living in poverty, 
according to the American Community Survey data by census tracts.

Overview

    Federal Agency Name: Rural Housing Service, USDA.
    Funding Opportunity Title: Housing Preservation Grants.
    Announcement Type: Notice.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 10.433.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The reporting requirements contained in this Notice have been 
approved by the Office of Management and Budget under OMB Number 0575-
0115.

A. Program Description

    The HPG program is a grant program, authorized under 42 U.S.C. 
1490m and implemented at 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N, which provides 
qualified public agencies, private non-profit organizations including, 
but not limited to, Faith-Based and neighborhood partnerships, and 
other eligible entities; grant funds to assist low- and very low-income 
homeowners in repairing and rehabilitating their homes in rural areas. 
In addition, the HPG program assists cooperative housing complexes and 
rental property owners in rural areas in repairing and rehabilitating 
their units if they agree to make such units available to very low- and 
low- income persons. Rental property owners can include Section 515 
rental properties if the eligibility requirements for the HPG program 
are met. In accordance with 7 CFR part 1944.663, rental property owners 
must agree to make the units repaired or rehabilitated available for 
occupancy to very low- or low-income persons for a period of not less 
than 5 years. The minimum 5-year restriction to rent the very low- and 
low- income tenants will only apply to the units that are repaired with 
the HPG funding. Any units within the property that were not repaired 
with HPG funding will not be subject to the 5-year restriction.

B. Federal Award Information

    The funding instrument for the HPG program will be a grant 
agreement. The term of the grant can vary from 1 to 2 years, depending 
on available funds and demand. No maximum or minimum grant levels have 
been established at the National level. In accordance with 7 CFR 
1944.652, coordination and leveraging of funding for repair and 
rehabilitation activities with housing and community development 
organizations or activities operating in the same geographic area are 
expected, but not required. You should contact the Rural Development 
State Office to determine the allocation. HPG applicants who were 
previously selected for HPG funds are eligible to submit new 
applications to apply for fiscal year (FY) 2020 HPG program funds.
    The amount of funding available for the HPG program may be found at 
the following link: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/housing-preservation-grants. In addition, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 
2019 (Pub. L. 116-6) set-aside for grants located in Rural Economic 
Area Partnership Zones (REAP Zones). The State Office will indicate on 
the list submitted to the National Office if the application is 
eligible for the REAP Zones set-aside. The National Office will then 
compile a national list, rank the REAP Zones applicants based on the 
point allocations set forth in this Federal Register Notice, and 
distribute the HPG REAP Zones set-aside starting with the highest 
scoring eligible HPG REAP Zones applicants. Other funds will be 
distributed under a formula allocation to States pursuant to 7 CFR part 
1940, subpart L, ``Methodology and Formulas for Allocation of Loan and 
Grant Program Funds.'' Decisions on funding will be based on pre-
application scores. Anyone interested in submitting an application for 
funding under this program is encouraged to consult the Rural 
Development website periodically for updated information regarding the 
status of funding authorized for this program.
    The commitment of program dollars will be made to selected 
applicants that have fulfilled the necessary requirements for 
obligation.

C. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants. Eligible entities for these competitively 
awarded grants include State and local Governments, non-profit 
corporations; which may include, but not be limited to Faith-Based and 
community organizations, federally recognized Indian Tribes, and 
consortia of eligible entities. HPG applicants who were previously 
selected for HPG funds are eligible to submit new applications to apply 
for FY 2020 HPG program funds. More eligibility requirements can be 
found at 7 CFR 1944.658, 1944.661, and 1944.662.
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching. Pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.652, grantees 
are expected to coordinate and leverage funding for repair and 
rehabilitation activities; as well as replacement housing, with housing 
and community development organizations or activities operating in the 
same geographic area. While HPG funds may be leveraged with other 
resources, cost sharing or matching is not a requirement for the HPG 
applicant as the HPG applicant would not be denied an award of HPG 
funds if all other project selection criteria have been met.
    3. Other. Awards made under this Notice are subject to the 
provisions contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (Pub. 
L. 116-6) sections 744 and 745 regarding Corporate Felony Convictions 
and Corporate Federal Tax Delinquencies. To comply with these 
provisions, only applicants that are or propose to be corporations will 
submit this form as part of their pre-application. Form AD-3030, 
``Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and Tax Delinquent Status 
for Corporate Applicants,'' can be found here: http://www.ocio.usda.gov/document/ad3030.

D. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: Applicants wishing to 
submit a paper application in response to this Notice must contact the 
Rural Development State Office serving the State of the proposed HPG 
housing project in order to receive further information and copies of 
the paper application package. You may find the addresses and contact 
information for each State Office following this link: http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices. Rural Development will date 
and time stamp incoming paper applications to evidence timely receipt 
and; upon request, will provide the applicant with a written 
acknowledgment of receipt. You may access the electronic grant pre-
application for Housing Preservation Grants at: http://www.grants.gov.

[[Page 16316]]

    2. Content and Form of Application: 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N 
provides details on what information must be contained in the pre-
application package. Entities wishing to apply for assistance should 
contact the Rural Development State Office to receive further 
information, the State allocation of funds, and copies of the pre-
application package. Unless otherwise noted, applicants wishing to 
apply for assistance must make its statement of activities available to 
the public for comment. The applicant(s) must announce the availability 
of its statement of activities for review in a newspaper of general 
circulation in the project area and allow at least 15 days for public 
comment. The start of this 15-day period must occur no later than 16 
days prior to the last day for acceptance of pre-applications by the 
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Rural Development. 
Federally recognized Indian Tribes, pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.674, are 
exempt from the requirement to consult with local leaders including 
announcing the availability of its statement of activities for review 
in a newspaper.
    All applicants will file an original and two copies of Standard 
Form (SF)-424, ``Application for Federal Assistance,'' and supporting 
information with the appropriate Rural Development State Office. A pre-
application package; including SF-424, is available in any Rural 
Development State Office. All pre-applications shall be accompanied by 
the following information which Rural Development will use to determine 
the applicant's eligibility to undertake the HPG program and to 
evaluate the pre-application under the project selection criteria of 7 
CFR 1944.679.
    (a) A statement of activities proposed by the applicant for its HPG 
program as appropriate to the type of assistance the applicant is 
proposing, including:
    (1) A complete discussion of the type of and conditions for 
financial assistance for housing preservation, including whether the 
request for assistance is for a homeowner assistance program, a rental 
property assistance program, or a cooperative assistance program;
    (2) The process for selecting recipients for HPG assistance, 
determining housing preservation needs of the dwelling, performing the 
necessary work, and monitoring/inspecting work performed;
    (3) A description of the process for coordinating with other public 
and private organizations and programs that provide assistance in 
rehabilitation of historic properties in accordance with 7 CFR 
1944.673;
    (4) The development standard(s) the applicant will use for the 
housing preservation work; and, if not the Rural Development standards 
for existing dwellings, the evidence of its acceptance by the 
jurisdiction where the grant will be implemented;
    (5) The time schedule for completing the program;
    (6) The staffing required to complete the program;
    (7) The estimated number of very low- and low-income minority and 
nonminority persons the grantee will assist with HPG funds; and, if a 
rental property or cooperative assistance program, the number of units 
and the term of restrictive covenants on their use for very low- and 
low-income;
    (8) The geographical area(s) to be served by the HPG program;
    (9) The annual estimated budget for the program period based on the 
financial needs to accomplish the objectives outlined in the proposal. 
The budget should include proposed direct and indirect administrative 
costs, such as personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, 
contracts, and other cost categories, detailing those costs for which 
the grantee proposes to use the HPG grant separately from non-HPG 
resources, if any. The applicant budget should also include a schedule 
(with amounts) of how the applicant proposes to draw HPG grant funds, 
i.e., monthly, quarterly, lump sum for program activities, etc.;
    (10) A copy of an indirect cost proposal when the applicant has 
another source of Federal funding in addition to the Rural Development 
HPG program;
    (11) A brief description of the accounting system to be used;
    (l2) The method of evaluation to be used by the applicant to 
determine the effectiveness of its program which encompasses the 
requirements for quarterly reports to Rural Development in accordance 
with 7 CFR 1944.683(b) and the monitoring plan for rental properties 
and cooperatives (when applicable) according to 7 CFR 1944.689;
    (13) The source and estimated amount of other financial resources 
to be obtained and used by the applicant for both HPG activities and 
housing development and/or supporting activities;
    (14) The use of program income; if any, and the tracking system 
used for monitoring same;
    (15) The applicant's plan for disposition of any security 
instruments held by them as a result of its HPG activities in the event 
of its loss of legal status;
    (16) Any other information necessary to explain the proposed HPG 
program; and
    (17) The outreach efforts outlined in 7 CFR 1944.671(b).
    (b) Complete information about the applicant's experience and 
capacity to carry out the objectives of the proposed HPG program.
    (c) Evidence of the applicant's legal existence, including, in the 
case of a private non-profit organization, which may include, but not 
be limited to, Faith-Based and community organizations, a copy of, or 
an accurate reference to, the specific provisions of State law under 
which the applicant is organized; a certified copy of the applicant's 
Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws or other evidence of corporate 
existence; certificate of incorporation for other than public bodies; 
evidence of good standing from the State when the corporation has been 
in existence one year or more; and the names and addresses of the 
applicant's members, directors and officers. If other organizations are 
members of the applicant-organization, or the applicant is a 
consortium, pre-applications should be accompanied by the names, 
addresses, and principal purpose of the other organizations. If the 
applicant is a consortium, documentation showing compliance with 
paragraph (4)(ii) under the definition of ``organization'' in 7 CFR 
1944.656 must also be included.
    (d) For a private non-profit entity, which may include, but not be 
limited to, Faith-Based and community organizations, the most recent 
audited statement and a current financial statement dated and signed by 
an authorized officer of the entity showing the amounts and specific 
nature of assets and liabilities together with information on the 
repayment schedule and status of any debt(s) owed by the applicant.
    (e) A brief narrative statement which includes information about 
the area to be served and the need for improved housing (including both 
percentage and the actual number of both low-income and low-income 
minority households and substandard housing), the need for the type of 
housing preservation assistance being proposed, the anticipated use of 
HPG resources for historic properties, the method of evaluation to be 
used by the applicant in determining the effectiveness of its efforts.
    (f) A statement containing the component for alleviating any 
overcrowding as defined by 7 CFR 1944.656.
    (g) A signed copy of the documentation in accordance with 7

[[Page 16317]]

CFR 1944.673 (as a companion to (a)(3) above);
    (h) The applicant must submit written statements and related 
correspondence reflecting compliance with 7 CFR 1944.674(a) and (c) 
regarding consultation with local Government leaders in the preparation 
of its program and the consultation with local and State Government 
pursuant to the provisions of Executive Order 12372.
    (i) The applicant is to make its statement of activities available 
to the public for comment prior to submission to Rural Development 
pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.674(b). The application must contain a 
description of how the comments (if any were received) were addressed.
    (j) The applicant must submit an original and one copy of Form RD 
400-1, ``Equal Opportunity Agreement'' and Form RD 400-4, ``Assurance 
Agreement'' in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.676.
    Applicants should review 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N for a 
comprehensive list of all application requirements.
    3. Address Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award 
Management: As part of the application, all applicants, except for 
individuals or agencies excepted under 2 CFR 25.110(d), must be: (1) 
registered in the System for Award Management (SAM); (2) provide a 
valid unique entity identifier in its applications; and (3) maintain an 
active SAM registration with current information at all times during 
which it has an active Federal award or application. An award may not 
be made to the applicant until the applicant has complied with the 
unique entity identifier and SAM requirements.
    4. Intergovernmental Review: The HPG program is subject to the 
provisions of Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental 
consultation with State and local officials.
    5. Funding Restrictions: There are no limits on proposed direct and 
indirect costs. Expenses incurred in developing pre-applications will 
be at the applicant's risk.
    6. Other Submission Requirements: To comply with the President's 
Management Agenda, USDA is participating as a partner in the 
Government-wide grants.gov site. Housing Preservation Grants [Catalog 
of Federal Domestic Assistance #10.433] is one of the programs included 
at this website. If you are an applicant under the HPG program, you may 
submit your pre-application to the Agency in either electronic or paper 
format. Please be mindful that the pre-application deadline for 
electronic format differs from the deadline for paper format. The 
electronic format deadline will be based on Eastern Standard Time. The 
paper format deadline is local time for each Rural Development State 
Office.
    Users of Grants.gov will be able to download a copy of the pre-
application package, complete it off line, and then upload and submit 
the application via the Grants.gov site. You may not email an 
electronic copy of a grant pre-application to USDA Rural Development; 
however, the Agency encourages your participation in Grants.gov.
    The following are useful tips and instructions on how to use the 
website:
     When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find 
information about submitting an application electronically through the 
website as well as the hours of operation. USDA-Rural Development 
strongly recommends that you do not wait until the application deadline 
date to begin the application process through Grants.gov. To use 
Grants.gov, applicants must have a DUNS number.
     You may submit all documents electronically through the 
website, including all information typically included on the 
Application for Housing Preservation Grants, and all necessary 
assurances and certifications.
     After you electronically submit your application through 
the website, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement from 
Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov tracking number.
     RHS may request that you provide original signatures on 
forms at a later date.
     If you experience technical difficulties on the closing 
date and are unable to meet the 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) 
deadline, print out your application and submit it to your State 
Office; you must meet the closing date and local time deadline.
     Please note that you must locate the downloadable 
application package for this program by the CFDA Number or FedGrants 
Funding Opportunity Number, which can be found at http://www.grants.gov.
    In addition to the electronic pre-application at: http://www.grants.gov website, all applicants must complete and submit the FY 
2020 pre-application package, detailed later in this Notice, for the 
Section 533 HPG program. A copy of a suggested coversheet is included 
with this Notice. Applicants are encouraged to submit this pre-
application coversheet electronically by accessing the website: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/housing-preservation-grants. Click on 
the Forms & Resources tab to access the ``FY 2020 Pre-Application for 
Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants (HPG).''
    Applicants are encouraged; but not required, to also provide an 
electronic copy of all hard copy forms and documents submitted in the 
pre-application/application package as requested by this Notice. The 
forms and documents must be submitted as read-only Adobe Acrobat PDF 
files on an electronic media such as CDs, DVDs or USB drives. For each 
electronic device that you submit, you must include a Table of Contents 
listing all of the documents and forms on that device. The electronic 
medium must be submitted to the local Rural Development State Office 
where the project will be located.
    Please Note: If you receive a loan or grant award under this 
Notice, USDA reserves the right to post all information that is not 
protected by the Privacy Act submitted as part of the pre-application/
application package on a public website with free and open access to 
any member of the public.

E. Application Review Information

    1. Criteria. All paper applications for Section 533 HPG funds must 
be filed with the appropriate Rural Development State Office and all 
paper or electronic applications must meet the requirements of this 
Notice and 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N. Pre-applications determined not 
eligible and/or not meeting the selection criteria will be notified by 
the Rural Development State Office.
    2. Review and Selection Process. The Rural Development State 
Offices will utilize the following threshold project selection criteria 
for applicants in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.679:
    (a) Providing a financially feasible program of housing 
preservation assistance. ``Financially feasible'' is defined as 
proposed assistance which will be affordable to the intended recipient 
or result in affordable housing for very low- and low-income persons.
    (b) Serving eligible rural areas with a concentration of 
substandard housing for households with very low- and low-income.
    (c) Being an eligible applicant as defined in 7 CFR 1944.658.
    (d) Meeting the requirements of consultation and public comment in 
accordance with 7 CFR 1944.674.
    (e) Submitting a complete pre-application as outlined in 7 CFR 
1944.676.
    3. Scoring. For applicants meeting all of the requirements listed 
above, the Rural Development State Offices will use weighted criteria 
in accordance with 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N as selection

[[Page 16318]]

for the grant recipients. Each pre-application and its accompanying 
statement of activities will be evaluated and, based solely on the 
information contained in the pre-application, the applicant's proposal 
will be numerically rated on each criteria within the range provided. 
The highest-ranking applicant(s) will be selected based on allocation 
of funds available to the State.
    (a) Points are awarded based on the percentage of very low-income 
persons that the applicant proposes to assist, using the following 
scale:

(1) More than 80%: 20 points
(2) 61% to 80%: 15 points
(3) 41% to 60%: 10 points
(4) 20% to 40%: 5 points
(5) Less than 20%: 0 points

    (b) The applicant's proposal may be expected to result in the 
following percentage of HPG fund use (excluding administrative costs) 
to total cost of unit preservation. This percentage reflects maximum 
repair or rehabilitation with the least possible HPG funds due to 
leveraging, innovative financial assistance, owner's contribution or 
other specified approaches. Points are awarded based on the following 
percentage of HPG funds (excluding administrative costs) to total 
funds:

(1) 50% or less: 20 points
(2) 51% to 65%: 15 points
(3) 66% to 80%: 10 points
(4) 81% to 95%: 5 points
(5) 96% to 100%: 0 points

    (c) The applicant has demonstrated its administrative capacity in 
assisting very low- and low-income persons to obtain adequate housing 
based on the following:
    (1) The organization or a member of its staff has at least one or 
more years' experience successfully managing and operating a 
rehabilitation or weatherization type program: 10 points.
    (2) The organization or a member of its staff has at least one or 
more years' experience successfully managing and operating a program 
assisting very low- and low-income persons obtain housing assistance: 
10 points.
    (3) If the organization has administered grant programs, there are 
no outstanding or unresolved audit or investigative findings which 
might impair carrying out the proposal: 10 points.
    (d) The proposed program will be undertaken entirely in rural areas 
outside Metropolitan Statistical Areas, also known as MSAs, identified 
by Rural Development as having populations below 10,000 or in remote 
parts of other rural areas (i.e., rural areas contained in MSAs with 
less than 5,000 population) as defined in 7 CFR 1944.656: 10 points.
    (e) The program will use less than 20 percent of HPG funds for 
administration purposes:

(1) More than 20%: Not eligible
(2) 20%: 0 points
(3) 19%: 1 point
(4) 18%: 2 points
(5) 17%: 3 points
(6) 16%: 4 points
(7) 15% or less: 5 points

    (f) The proposed program contains a component for alleviating 
overcrowding as defined in 7 CFR 1944.656: 5 points.
    In the event more than one pre-application receives the same amount 
of points, those pre-applications will then be ranked based on the 
actual percentage figure used for determining the points in item (a) in 
the ``Scoring'' section of this Notice (7 CFR 1944.679(b)(1)).
    Example of 1st tie-break:

Both Applicants score 80 points
Applicant X's percentage in ``Scoring'' section item (a) is 65%
Applicant B's percentage in ``Scoring'' section item (a) is 75%
Applicant B is ranked higher than Applicant X
Applicant B will be funded before Applicant X

    Further, in the event that pre-applications are still tied, then 
those pre-applications still tied will be ranked based on the 
percentage figures used for determining the points in item (b) in the 
``Scoring'' section of this Notice (7 CFR 1944.679(b)(2)).
    Example of 2nd tie-break:

Both Applicants score 80 points
Both Applicants percentage in ``Scoring'' section item (a) is 65%
Applicant X's percentage in ``Scoring'' section item (b) is 55%
Applicant B's percentage in ``Scoring'' section item (b) is 60%
Applicant X is ranked with a lower percentage than Applicant B
Applicant X will be funded before Applicant B

    Further, 7 CFR 1944.679(c), for applications where HPG assistance 
to rental properties or co-ops is proposed, those still tied will be 
further ranked based on the number of years the units are available for 
occupancy under the program (a minimum of five years is required). For 
this part, ranking will be based from most to least number of years.
    Example of 3rd tie-break:

Both Applicants score 80 points
Both Applicants percentage in ``Scoring'' section item (a) is 65%
Both Applicants percentage in ``Scoring'' section item (b) is 55%
Applicant X's rental unit will be available for occupancy under the 
program for 10 years
Applicant B's rental unit will be available for occupancy under the 
program for 5 years
Applicant X is ranked higher than Applicant B
Applicant X will be funded before Applicant B

    If any of the applicants that remain tied after the 1st and 2nd 
tie-breaks are offering to assist single family owners, then the 3rd 
tie-break would not be applicable, and a lottery would be used to 
select the applicant to be funded.
    If there is still a tie after the first two [or three, when 
applicable] tie-breaks, then a lottery system will be used to select 
the applicant to be funded. The lottery will be conducted at the 
National Office. The lottery will consist of the names of each 
application with equal scores printed onto a same size piece of paper, 
which will then be placed into a receptacle that fully obstructs the 
view of the names. The Director of the Preservation and Direct Loan 
Division, in the presence of two witnesses, will draw a piece of paper 
from the receptacle. The name on piece of paper drawn will be the 
applicant to be funded.
    After the award selections are made, all applicants will be 
notified of the status of their applications by mail with form AD-622 
Form, ``Notice of Pre-Application Review Action.'' Applicants will be 
given their review rights or appeal rights in accordance with 7 CFR 
1944.682.

F. Federal Award Administration Information

    1. Federal Award Notices. The Agency will notify; in writing, 
applicants whose pre-applications have been selected for funding. At 
the time of notification, the Agency will advise the applicant what 
further information and documentation is required along with a timeline 
for submitting the additional information. If the Agency determines it 
is unable to select the application for funding, the applicant will be 
informed in writing. Such notification will include the reasons the 
applicant was not selected. The Agency will advise applicants, whose 
pre-applications did not meet eligibility and/or selection criteria, of 
their review rights or appeal rights in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.682.
    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements. Rural 
Development is encouraging applications for projects that will support 
rural areas with persistent poverty and in Opportunity Zones. This 
emphasis will support Rural Development's mission of

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improving the quality of life for Rural Americans and commitment to 
directing resources to those who most need them.
    3. Reporting. Post-award reporting requirements can be found in the 
Grant Agreement.

G. Non-Discrimination Statement

    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and USDA civil rights 
regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and 
employees and institutions participating in or administering USDA 
programs are prohibited from discrimination based on race, color, 
national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, (including gender 
expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, 
family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance 
program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil 
rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA 
(not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing 
deadlines vary by program or incident.
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of 
communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, 
audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible 
Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or 
contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service, at (800) 877-8339. 
Additionally, program information may be made available in languages 
other than English.
    To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA 
Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office or 
write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the 
information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint 
form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA 
by:
    (1) Mail: United States Department of Agriculture, Office of the 
Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, 
Washington, DC 20250-9410;
    (2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
    (3) Email: [email protected].
    USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Bruce W. Lammers,
Administrator, Rural Housing Service.
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[FR Doc. 2020-05984 Filed 3-20-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-XV-C