Federal Register: February 27, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 39)
DOCID: FR Doc 01-4242
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
DOCUMENT ID: [Program Announcement No. OCS-2001-04]
NOTICE: Part V
DOCUMENT ACTION: Announcement of availability of funds and request for competitive applications under the Office of Community Services' Assets for Independence Demonstration Program.
Request for Applications Under The Office of Community Services' Fiscal Year 2001 Assets for Independence Demonstration Program (IDA Program)
DATES: To be considered for funding applications must be postmarked on or before June 12, 2001. Applications postmarked after that date will not be accepted for consideration. See Part IV of this announcement for more information on submitting applications.
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Community Services (OCS), invites eligible entities to submit competitive grant applications for new demonstration projects that will establish, implement, and participate in the evaluation of Individual Development Accounts for lower income individuals and families. Applications will be screened and competitively reviewed as indicated in this Program Announcement. Awards will be contingent on the outcome of the competition and the availability of funds.
Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families,
This program announcement consists of seven parts plus Attachments:
Part I: Background Information: Legislative authority, program purpose, project goals, definition of terms, and program evaluation.
Part II: Program Objectives and Requirements: Program priority areas, eligible applicants, project and budget periods, funds availability and grant amounts, project eligibility and requirements, nonFederal matching funds requirements, preferences, multiple applications, treatment of program income, and agreements with partnering financial institutions.
Part III: The Project Description, Program Proposal Elements and Review Criteria: Purpose, project summary/abstract; objectives and need for assistance, results or benefits expected, approach, organizational profiles, budget and budget justification, nonFederal resources, and evaluation criteria.
Part IV: Application Procedures: Application development/ availability of forms, application submission, intergovernmental review, initial OCS screening, consideration of applications, and funding reconsideration.
Part V: Instructions for Completing Application Forms: SF424, SF424A, SF424B.
Part VI: Contents of Application and Receipt Process: Content and order of program application, acknowledgment of receipt.
Part VII: Post Award Information and Reporting Requirements: Notification of grant award, attendance at technical assistance and evaluation workshops/conferences, reporting requirements, audit requirements, prohibitions and requirements with regard to lobbying, applicable Federal regulations.
Attachments: Application forms and required attachments. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 10 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, gathering and maintaining the data needed and reviewing the collection information.
The project description is approved under OMB control number 0970 0139 which expires 12/31/2003.
An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required
to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.
Part I. Background Information
A. Legislative Authority
The Assets for Independence Demonstration Program (IDA Program) was established by the Assets for Independence Act (AFI Act), under Title IV of the Community Opportunities, Accountability, and Training and Educational Services Act of 1998 (Pub. L. 105285, 42 U.S.C. 604 Note), as amended.
B. Program Purpose
The purpose of the program is, in the language of the AFI Act: to
provide for the establishment of demonstration projects designed to determine:
(1) The social, civic, psychological, and economic effects of providing to individuals and families with limited means an incentive to accumulate assets by saving a portion of their earned income; (2) The extent to which an assetbased policy that promotes saving for postsecondary education, homeownership, and microenterprise development may be used to enable individuals and families with limited means to increase their economic selfsufficiency; and
(3) The extent to which an assetbased policy stabilizes and improves families and the community in which the families live.
There are some 300 IDA programs of various designs operating today in different communities across the country. Most are quite new and all are in the process of learning what design features work best with a variety of circumstances and target populations. Applicants are encouraged to contact these programs to see what might be learned from their experiences: what pitfalls to avoid, what successes might be emulated or adapted. An excellent source of information and discussion about existing IDA programs is the website operated by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), and its ``IDA Learning Network'' and related ListServe. These can be reached at www.idanetwork.org. In addition, the OCS Demonstration Division expects its website to be up in February 2001 at www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/ocs/demo. C. Project Goals
The ultimate goals of the projects to be funded under the Assets for Independence Demonstration Program are:
(1) To create, through project activities and interventions, meaningful asset accumulation opportunities for households eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other eligible individuals and working families.
(2) To evaluate the projects to demonstrate the effectiveness of these activities and interventions and of the
project designs through which they were implemented, and the extent to which an assetbased program can lead to economic selfsufficiency of members of the communities served through one or more qualified expenses; and
(3) Thus to make it possible to determine the social, civic, psychological, and economic effects of providing to individuals and families with limited means an incentive to accumulate assets by saving a portion of their earned income, and the extent to which an asset based policy stabilizes and improves families and the community in which the families live.
D. Definition of Terms
For the purposes of this Announcement:
(1) AFI Act means the Assets for Independence Act (Title IV of the Community Opportunities, Accountability, and Training and Educational Services Act of 1998, as amended) which authorizes this program. (2) Custodial Account means an alternative structure to a Trust for the establishment of an Individual Development Account, as described in PART II, Section G(5).
(3) Eligible Individual means an individual who meets the income and net worth requirements of the program as set forth in PART II, Section G(3)(a) below.
(4) Emergency Withdrawal means a withdrawal of only those funds, or a portion of those funds, deposited by the eligible individual (Project Participant) in an Individual Development Account of such individual. Such withdrawal must be approved by the Project Grantee, must be made for an allowable purpose as defined in the AFI Act and under the Project Eligibility Requirements set forth in Part II of this Announcement, and must be repaid by the individual Project Participant within 12 months of the withdrawal. [See Part II, Section G(7)(b)] (5) Household means all individuals who share use of a dwelling unit as primary quarters for living and eating separate from other individuals.
(6) Individual Development Account (IDA) means a trust or a custodial account created or organized in the United States exclusively for the purpose of paying the qualified expenses of an eligible individual, or enabling the eligible individual to make an emergency withdrawal, but only if the written governing instrument creating the trust or custodial account meets the requirements of the AFI Act and of the Project Eligibility and Requirements set forth in this Announcement. [See Part II, Section G(4) and (5).]
(7) Net Worth of a Household means the aggregate market value of all assets that are owned in whole or in part by any member of the household, exclusive of the primary dwelling unit and one motor vehicle owned by a member of the household, minus the obligations or debts of any member of the household.
(8) Project Grantee means a Qualified Entity as defined in paragraph (11) below, which receives a grant pursuant to this Announcement.
(9) Project participant means an Eligible Individual as defined in paragraph (3) above who is selected to participate in a demonstration project by a qualified entity.
(10) Project Year means, with respect to a funded demonstration project, any of the 5 consecutive 12month periods beginning on the date the project is originally awarded a grant by ACF.
(11) Qualified Entity means an entity eligible to apply for and operate an assets for independence demonstration project, under Priority Area 1.0, as one or more notforprofit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations, or a State or local government agency or a tribal government submitting an application jointly with such a notforprofit organization, or an entity that
(a) a credit union designated as a lowincome credit union by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA); or
(b) an organization designated as a community development financial institution (CDFI) by the Secretary of the Treasury (or the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund); and
(II) can demonstrate a collaborative relationship with a local communitybased organization whose activities are designed to address poverty in the community and the needs of community members for economic independence and stability.
(12) Qualified Expenses means one or more of the expenses for which payment may be made from an individual development account by a project grantee on behalf of the eligible individual in whose name the account is held, and is limited to expenses of (A) postsecondary education, (B) first home purchase, and/or (C) business capitalization, as defined below:
(A) PostSecondary Educational Expenses means postsecondary educational expenses paid from an individual development account directly to an eligible educational institution, and includes: (i) Tuition and Fees required for the enrollment or attendance of a student at an eligible educational institution.
(ii) Fees, Books, Supplies, and Equipment required for courses of instruction at an eligible educational institution, including a computer and necessary software.
(iii) Eligible Educational Institution means the following: (I) Institution of Higher EducationAn institution described in Section 101 or 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
(II) PostSecondary Vocational Education SchoolAn area vocational education school (as defined in subparagraph (C) or (D) of section 521(4) of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act (20 U.S.C. 2471(4)) which is in any State (as defined in section 521(33) of such Act) as such sections are in effect on the date of enactment of the AFI Act.
(B) FirstHome Purchase means qualified acquisition costs with respect to a principal residence for a qualified firsttime homebuyer, if paid from an individual development account directly to the persons to whom the amounts are due. Within this definition:
(i) Principal Residence means a main residence, the qualified acquisition costs of which do not exceed 120 percent of the average purchase price applicable to a comparable residence in the area. (ii) Qualified Acquisition Costs means the cost of acquiring, constructing, or reconstructing a residence, including usual or reasonable settlement, financing, or other closing costs.
(iii) Qualified FirstTime Homebuyer means an individual participating in the project involved (and, if married, the individual's spouse) who has no present ownership interest in a principal residence during the 3year period ending on the date on which a binding contract is entered into for purchase of the principal residence to which this subparagraph applies.
(C) Business Capitalization means amounts paid from an individual development account directly to a business capitalization account that is established in a Qualified Financial Institution and is restricted to use solely for qualified business capitalization expenses of the eligible individual in whose name the account is held. Within this definition:
(i) Qualified Business Capitalization Expenses means qualified expenditures for the capitalization of a qualified business pursuant to a qualified plan, when so certified by a Qualified Entity (Grantee) as meeting the requirements of subparagraphs (ii), (iii), and (iv) below. [[Page 12690]]
(ii) Qualified Expenditures means expenditures included in a qualified plan, including but not limited to capital, plant, equipment, working capital, and inventory expenses.
(iii) Qualified Business means any business that does not contravene any law or public policy (as determined by the Secretary). (iv) Qualified Plan means a business plan, or a plan to use a business asset purchased, which
(I) is approved by a financial institution, a microenterprise development organization, or a nonprofit loan fund having demonstrated fiduciary integrity;
(II) includes a description of services or goods to be sold, a marketing plan, and projected financial statements; and
(III) may require the eligible individual to obtain the assistance of an experienced entrepreneurial advisor.
(D) Transfers to IDAs of Family MembersAmounts paid from an individual development account directly into another such account established for the benefit of an eligible individual who is (i) the individual's spouse; or
(ii) any dependent of the individual with respect to whom the individual is allowed a deduction under section 151 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
(13) Qualified Financial Institution means a Federally insured Financial Institution, or a State insured Financial Institution if no Federally insured Financial Institution is available.
(14) Qualified Savings of the Individual for the Period means the aggregate of the amounts contributed by an eligible individual from earned income to the individual development account of the individual during the period.
(15) Secretary means the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the Office of Community Services. (16) Tribal Government means a tribal organization, as defined in section 4 of the Indian SelfDetermination and Education Assistance Act (24 U.S.C. 450b) or a Native Hawaiian organization, as defined in section 9212 of the Native Hawaiian Education Act (20 U.S.C. 7912). (17) Trust Agreement means the instrument by which an Individual Development Account is established as a trust in the partnering Financial Institution under Part II Section G(4).
(18) Trustee means the Qualified Financial Institution responsible for management of an Individual Development Account established as a trust pursuant to a Trust Agreement.
E. Program Evaluation
Section 414 of the Assets for Independence Act requires that the Secretary enter into a contract with an independent research organization to evaluate the demonstration projects conducted under the Act, individually and as a group, including evaluating all qualified entities participating in and sources providing funds for the demonstration projects conducted under the AFIA Act. To support this evaluation, the AFIA also provides that not less than 2% of funds in the Reserve Fund be used by grantees to provide the independent research organization with such information regarding the demonstration project as may be required for the evaluation. The Secretary has contracted with Abt Associates, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to carry out the required evaluation. OCS and ACF's Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) have worked together with the contractor in the development of an evaluation design whose implementation will get underway in the Spring of 2001.
Section 414 also lists the factors to be addressed by the research organization in its evaluation, which include:
(1) The effect of incentives and institutional support on savings behavior;
(2) The savings rates of individuals based on demographic characteristics and income;
(3) The economic, civic, psychological and social effects of asset accumulation and how such effects vary among different populations or communities;
(4) The effects of IDA's on savings rates, home ownership, level of post secondary education attained, and selfemployment, and how such effects vary among different populations or communities;
(5) The potential financial returns to the Federal Government and to other public and private sector investors in IDA's over a 5 and 10 year period;
(6) The lessons to be learned from the demonstration projects and if a permanent program of IDA's should be established; and
(7) Such other factors as the Secretary may prescribe.
The section then stipulates that in evaluating any demonstration project under the AFIA, the research organization shall, before, during and after the project, obtain such quantitative data as are necessary to evaluate the program thoroughly. To this end OCS and its technical assistance contractor, PeopleWorks, Inc., have worked with OPRE and the research organization to develop a reporting format for AFIA grantees, and expect to make available to all grantees an Asset Development Information System to facilitate the maintenance, collection, verification and reporting of the data. In addition, section 414 directs that the research organization shall develop a qualitative assessment, derived from sources such as indepth interviews, of how asset accumulation affects individuals and families.
Section 414 of the AFIA, as amended, further provides that of the funds appropriated for each Fiscal Year, beginning with FY 2001, $500,000 will be available to carry out the evaluation.
Part II. Program Objectives and Requirements
The Office of Community Services (OCS) invites qualified entities to submit competing grant applications for new demonstration projects that will establish, support, manage, and participate in the evaluation of Individual Development Accounts for eligible participants among lower income individuals and working families.
A. Program Priority Areas
There is one Program Priority Area under this program for Fiscal
Year 2001: Priority Area 1.0, under which OCS will accept applications
from Qualified Entities as described below and in Section G.
Applications for continuation of grants funded under Priority Area 2.0
of the Fiscal Year 1999 Assets For Independence Program Announcement
are not covered by this Program Announcement; but will be the subject of direct correspondence between OCS and the grantees.
B. Eligible Applicants
(1) In general. Eligible applicants for the Assets for Independence Demonstration Program Priority Area 1.0 are one or more notforprofit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations, or a State or local government agency or a tribal government submitting an application jointly with such a notforprofit organization, or an entity that
(a) a credit union designated as a lowincome credit union by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA); or
(b) an organization designated as a community development financial institution by the Secretary of the Treasury (or the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund); and
(II) can demonstrate a collaborative relationship with a local community
based organization whose activities are designed to address poverty in the community and the needs of community members for economic independence and stability.
Notforprofit Applicants, including those filing jointly with
government agencies or Tribal Governments, must provide documentation
of their tax exempt status. The applicant can accomplish this by
providing a copy of the applicant's listing in the Internal Revenue
Service's (IRS) most recent list of taxexempt organizations described
in Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code or by providing a copy of their
currently valid IRS tax exemption certificate. Failure to provide
evidence of Section 501(c)(3) tax exempt status will result in
rejection of the application. Similarly, eligible credit unions and
CDFI's must provide written documentation of their status and evidence
of their collaborative relationship with an appropriate local communitybased organization.
(2) Applications submitted jointly by state or local government agencies or tribal governments and tax exempt nonprofit organizations. Joint applications by government agencies and nonprofit organizations must clearly identify the joint applicants; and the SF 424 Application for Federal Assistance must be signed by one of the joint applicants. The applicant signing the SF 424 will be responsible for proper implementation of the grant in accordance with the approved work program and the terms and conditions of the grant. (It may be either the government agency applicant or a nonprofit applicant). In either case, a Reserve Fund must be established for the Project by a non profit Joint Applicant, and maintained and managed as agreed by the Joint Applicants. The Reserve Fund must be established in accordance with Section G, Paragraphs (1) and (2), below; and where the project includes a group or consortium of operating partners, may include both a central and local Reserve Funds as described there. Such joint applications must also include:
(a) proof of tax exempt status of the nonprofit Joint Applicant, as described in Paragraph (1), above; and
(b) a Joint Applicant Agreement, signed by the responsible officials of both Joint Applicants, setting forth the responsibilities of each Joint Applicant for implementation of the proposed project, including management and oversight of the Reserve Fund and carrying out of the project activities and interventions described in Element II of the proposal narrative. (See Part III, below.) The Joint Applicant Agreement should be the first Appendix to the Application, and the responsibilities it sets out should be described in the Project Narrative under Elements I and II, Part III, Section I Evaluation Criteria (below).
(3) Applications submitted by a lead agency on behalf of a consortium of partnering organizations. Where the Applicant is applying as the lead agency for a consortium or group of partnering organizations, each of these organizations must be briefly described in the Application, and background materials citing their relevant experience and staff capabilities should be included in the Appendix. In such cases the Applicant should document its capability and experience in managing such consortia, and the roles and
responsibilities of all Participating agencies should be clearly set forth in signed Partnering Agreements between the Applicant and each of the Partnering members. Copies of the Partnering Agreements should be included in the Appendix, and the roles and responsibilities of each participating agency clearly explained in Part III, Element I and Element II(b), Project Design, and reflected in the Work Plan under Element II(d). These explanations must include the plans for establishing one or more Reserve Fund(s), and how and where IDA Accounts and Parallel Match Accounts will be maintained, as reflected in the Financial Institution Agreement(s)/Statement of Policy under Part III, Element II(c). (See also Section G. Paragraph (1), and Section M, below.)
C. Project and Budget Periods under Priority Area 1.0
This announcement is inviting applications under Priority Area 1.0 for project and budget periods of five (5) years. Grant actions, on a competitive basis, will award funds for the full five year project and budget period. As noted below in Section E., subject to the availability of funds, grantees may be offered the opportunity to submit applications for supplementary funding in later years during the fiveyear project.
Note: Applicants should be aware that OCS funds awarded pursuant to this Announcement will be from FY 2001 funds and may not be expended after the end of the fiveyear Project/Budget Period to support administration of the project or matching contributions to Individual Development Accounts which may be open at that time. Consequently, Applicants should consider carefully the length of time participants will need to achieve their savings goals and at what point in the project they may wish to discontinue the opening of new accounts. Consequently, and as noted below, deposit of non Federal share funds needs to be carried out on a schedule consistent with the planned schedule of new account opening. Applicants should provide assurance that in every case provision will be made for payment of all promised matching deposits to IDA accounts opened by project participants in the course of the demonstration project. D. Funds Availability and Grant Amounts under Priority Area 1.0
In Fiscal Year 2001 OCS expects approximately $13 million to be
available under Priority Area 1.0 for funding commitments to
approximately 45 new projects, generally not to exceed $500,000 each
for the fiveyear project and budget periods. However, in special
circumstances where applicants have secured over $500,000 in non
Federal share contributions which they will lose if not able to secure
a Federal grant of equal amount, applications for up to $1 million will
be considered; but the agency would prefer to limit initial grants to
not more than $500,000, with the possibility open to additional
supplemental funding in years two and three of the project. Applicants
are reminded that grant awards are limited to the amount of committed
nonFederal cash matching contributions; and that OCS recognizes that
this is a limiting factor in the amount of grant funds requested.
Applicants are assured that OCS will welcome requests for less than the
maximum grant amounts, and are urged to make realistic projections of
project activity over the five year project and propose project budgets
accordingly. As in the past, subject to the availability of funds and
the progress of individual demonstration projects, grantees that have
raised additional cash nonFederal share contributions may be given the
opportunity to request supplementary funding in later years during the
fiveyear project. Drawdown of grant funds over the fiveyear budget
period may be made in amounts that will match nonFederal deposits into
the Project Reserve Fund. (See Section G. Paragraph (2) and Section I, below).
E. Funds Availability for Supplementing FY 1999 and 2000 Grantees
As explained in the FY 1999 and 2000 Assets for Independence
Program Announcements and noted above, subject to availability of funds
and the progress of individual demonstration projects, grantees may be
offered the opportunity to submit requests for supplementary funding
during the fiveyear project, if there were a determination that this
would be in the best interest of the government. Pursuant to those
Announcements, approximately $7 million of FY 2001 funds will in like manner be made
available for supplementary grants to FY 1999 and 2000 grantees which will be solicited directly by OCS. Any funds not expended for supplementary grants will be available for new project grants under Priority Area 1.0, and vice versa.
F. Funds Availability and Grant Amounts for Continuation Funding of Grandfathered State Grantees (FY 1999 Priority Area 2.0 Grantees: Indiana and Pennsylvania)
In Fiscal Year 2001 up to approximately $2 million is expected to
be available under Priority Area 2.0 for up to two continuation grants
not to exceed $1 million each for the third budget year of a fiveyear
State project funded under Priority Area 2.0 of the FY 1999 Assets for
Independence Program Announcement. Any funds not expended in FY 2001
for these Continuation Grants will be available for project grants
under Priority Area 1.0 or for supplementary grants as described above in Paragraph E.
G. Project Eligibility and Requirements under Priority Area 1.0
To be eligible for funding under Priority Area 1.0, projects must be sponsored and managed by Qualified Entities and must meet the following requirements:
(1) Reserve Fund
Every project funded under this Announcement must establish and maintain a Reserve Fund in accordance with this paragraph. Such Reserve Fund must be maintained in accordance with the accounting regulations prescribed by the Secretary (See 65 FR 10027, Feb. 25, 2000), in a Qualified Financial Institution or other insured financial institution satisfactory to the Secretary.
Note: Where an applicant is lead agency for a consortium or group of partnering organizations, each of which will be
implementing an IDA program under the Applicant's grant pursuant to this Announcement, the Applicant/lead agency must maintain a Reserve Fund into which all required nonFederal share matching contribution funds and OCS grant funds shall be deposited in accordance with sub Paragraph (a). The consortium has two alternatives for maintenance of Reserve Fund(s) in its IDA programs: First, participating organizations may all operate out of the one central Reserve Fund maintained by the Applicant/lead agency. In this case separate accounting structures would be maintained for each of the
organizations and the funds assigned for their use in accordance with agreements between the Applicant and each organization. Or second, in addition to the Central Reserve Fund, participating organizations may each establish a local Reserve Fund in their community into which the Applicant/lead agency will deposit from the Central Reserve Fund the funds (grant and nonFederal share) allocated for use by the particular organization. Central and local Reserve Funds will be subject to all of the requirements of this Section. Whatever the arrangement, it must be spelled out and agreed to in the Partnering Agreements required under Section B. Paragraph (3) between the Applicant and each consortium member.
(a) Amounts in the reserve fund. As soon after receipt as is practicable, grantees shall deposit in the Reserve Fund the nonFederal matching contributions received pursuant to the ``NonFederal Share Agreement'' or Agreements reached with the provider(s) of nonFederal matching contributions. Once such nonFederal funds are deposited in the Reserve Fund, grantees may draw down OCS grant funds in amounts equal to such deposits. Similarly, as soon after receipt as practical, grantees shall deposit in the Reserve Fund the income received from any investment made of those funds (see paragraph (d) below).
(b) Use of amounts in the reserve fund. Grantees shall use the amounts in such Reserve Fund as follows:
(A) at least 85% of the federal grant funds, and an equal amount of the required nonFederal share funds, shall be used as matching contributions, equally divided between federal and nonfederal monies, to individual development accounts for project participants, in an agreed upon ratio to deposits made in those accounts by project participants from earned income.
(B) at least 2% but no more than 15% of the Federal grant funds shall be used toward the expense of collecting and providing to the research organization evaluating the demonstration project the data and information required for the evaluation.
(C) up to 7.5% of the Federal grant funds may be used for administration of the demonstration project and, and an additional 5.5% shall go toward nonadministrative support expenses of assisting project participants to obtain the skills (including economic literacy classes, budgeting, and business management skills), training, and information necessary to achieve economic selfsufficiency through activities requiring qualified expenses. If the cost of such non administrative support expenses is less than 5.5% of the Federal grant funds, then any unused portion may be used for administrative expenses. (D) up to 15% of the required matching nonFederal funds may be used for expenses outlined in Paragraphs (B) and (C), above, or other projectrelated expenses as agreed by the Applicant and the providing entity.
Note: If a grantee mobilizes matching nonFederal contributions
in excess of the required 100 percent match, such nonFederal funds
may be used however the grantee and provider of the funds may agree.
Where the use of such funds is proposed within a Program Element/
Proposal Review Criterion which formed the basis for the grant
award, Grantees will be held accountable for commitments of such
excess matching funds and additional resources, even though over the amount of the required nonFederal match.
(c) Authority to invest funds. A grantee shall invest the amounts in its Reserve Fund that are not immediately needed for payment under paragraph (b), in a manner that provides an appropriate balance between return, liquidity, and risk, and in accordance with Guidelines which will be issued by the Secretary prior to making of grant awards and provided to grantees at the time of grant award.
(d) Use of investment income. Income generated from investment of Reserve Fund monies that are not allocated to existing Individual Development Accounts may be added by grantees to the funds committed to program administration, participant support, or evaluation data collection. As noted in Paragraph M, below, once funds have been committed as matching contributions to Individual Development Accounts, then any income subsequently generated by such funds must be deposited/ credited to the credit of such accounts.
Note: No part of such income is to be considered as a Federal
funds contribution subject to the $2000/$4000 limitations under Paragraph (5)(b), below.
(e) Joint project administration. If two or more qualified entities are jointly administering a project, none shall use more than its proportional share for the purposes described in subparagraphs (B) and (C), of paragraph (b).
(2) Use of Grant Funds by State and Local Government Agencies and Tribal Governments.
As set forth in Section B. Paragraph (2) above, grantees who are
State or local government agencies or Tribal governments are required to submit applications jointly with tax exempt nonprofit
organizations. In such cases, whether the lead applicant signing the SF 424 is the government agency or the nonprofit organization, a Reserve Fund must be established for the Project by the nonprofit Joint Applicant and maintained and managed as agreed by the Joint Applicants. The Reserve Fund
shall be subject to the requirements of Paragraph (1) above, and Section I, below.
(3) Eligibility and Selection of Project Participants
(a) Participant eligibility. Eligibility for participation in the demonstration projects is limited to individuals who are members of households eligible for assistance under TANF, or of households whose adjusted gross income does not exceed the earned income amount described in Section 32 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, which establishes eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)(taking into account the size of the household), or of households whose annual income does not exceed 200% of the poverty income guidelines as established and published by the Department of Health and Human Services, and whose net worth as of the end of the calendar year preceding the determination of eligibility does not exceed $10,000, excluding the primary dwelling unit and one motor vehicle owned by a member of the household.
Note: The most recent EITC Earned Income Guidelines which set
the limits on annual income for eligibility in the IDA Program are as follows:
for a household without a child: $10,380.
for a household with one child: $27,413.
for a household with more than one child: $31,152.
The most recent Poverty Income Guidelines (published in February 2000) are set forth in Attachment M to this Announcement. Annual revisions of these Guidelines are normally published in the Federal Register in February or early March of each year. Where relevant to IDA Project criteria, grantees will be required to apply the most recent guidelines throughout the project period. These revised guidelines may be obtained at public libraries, Congressional offices, or by writing the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. They are also accessible on the OCS Website for reading and/or downloading (www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/ocs).
Applicants are reminded that there is also a net worth assets test for eligibility in the program, as noted above.
(b) Participant Selection. In keeping with the statutory preference in Section 405(d)(3) of the AFI Act for applications that target individuals from neighborhoods or communities that experience high rates of poverty or unemployment, grantees in their selection of Project Participants may restrict participation in such neighborhoods or communities targeted by their demonstration projects to individuals and households with lower incomes and net worth than set forth above, provided that they shall nonetheless select individuals who they determine are well suited to participate in the demonstration project. (4) Establishment of Individual Development Accounts
Project Grantees must create, through written governing
instruments, either (a) Trusts, under this paragraph, or (b) Custodial
Accounts described in Paragraph (5) below, which will be Individual
Development Accounts on behalf of Project Participants. Trustees of
Trusts must be Qualified Financial Institutions. Custodians of
Custodial Accounts may be Qualified Financial Institutions, other
insured financial institutions satisfactory to the Secretary, or
Demonstration Project Grantees. In every case the Participant's
personal savings from earned income shall be deposited in the
Participant's Individual Development Account in a participating insured
financial Institution, which in the case of Qualified Entities which
are eligible Credit Unions or CDFI's, may be the Qualified Entity
itself. In every case where the participating insured financial
institution and the Demonstration Project Grantee are not one and the
same, both shall be parties to the written governing instruments
creating the Trust or Custodial Account. Such instruments must contain the following provisions:
(a) All contributions to the accounts must be either in cash, by check, money order, or by electronic transfer of funds.
(b) The assets of the account will be invested in accordance with the direction of the Project Participant after consultation with the grantee and pursuant to the guidelines of the Secretary (which will be issued prior to the making of grant awards and made available to grantees at the time of grant award).
(c) The assets of the account will not be commingled with other property except in a common trust fund or parallel account or common investment fund.
(d) In the event of the death of the Project Participant, any balance remaining in the account shall be distributed within 30 days of the date of death to another Individual Development Account established for the benefit of an eligible individual as directed by the deceased Participant in the Savings Plan Agreement under subparagraph (g), below; provided, that the Participant may at their option direct the disposition of any funds in the account which were deposited in the account by the Participant as he or she may see fit, except that where such disposition is not to another Individual Development Account, all matching contributions made by the grantee to the account, and any income earned thereby, shall be returned to the Reserve Fund. [Note that this will mean that each Project Participant must provide such direction at the time the Individual Development Account is established. Provision should be made by grantees for modification of such directions during the course of the project, in the event of changing circumstances.]
(e) Except in the case of the death of the Project Participant, amounts in the account attributable to deposits by the grantee from grant funds and matching nonfederal contributions, and any interest thereon, may be paid, withdrawn or distributed out of the account only for the purpose of paying qualified expenses of the Project Participant including transfers under Paragraph (7)(d), below).
(f) The procedures governing the withdrawal of funds from the Individual Development Account, for both Qualified Expenses and Emergency Withdrawals, must comply with the provisions of Paragraph (7) Withdrawals from Individual Development Accounts, below.
(g) A ``Savings Plan Agreement'' between the grantee and the Project Participant, which may be incorporated by reference, and which should include: (1) Savings goals (including a proposed schedule of savings deposits by the Participant from earned income, which may be for a period of less than five years); (2) the rate at which participant savings will be matched (from one dollar to eight dollars for each dollar in savings deposited by Participant, the Federal grant funds portion of which may not exceed $2000 during the fiveyear project period); (3) the proposed qualified expense for which the Account is maintained, (4) agreement by the grantee to provide and the Participant to attend classes in Economic Literacy; (5) any additional training or education related to the qualified expense which the Grantee agrees to provide and of which the Participant agrees to partake, (6) contingency plans in the event that the Participant exceeds or fails to meet projected savings goals or schedules, (7) any agreement as to investments of assets described in subparagraph (b), above, (8) an explanation of withdrawal procedures and limitations, including the consequences of unauthorized withdrawal, (9) provision for disposition of the funds in the account
in the event of the Participant's death (see subParagraph (d), above; and (10) provision for amendment of the Agreement with the concurrence of both Grantee and Participant.
(5) Custodial Accounts
As provided in Paragraph (4), above, Grantees may, in the alternative, create, through written governing instruments, Custodial Accounts which shall be Individual Development Accounts on behalf of Project Participants, except that they will not be trusts. As in the case of trusts established under paragraph (4), the written governing instruments of the accounts must contain the requirements outlined in subparagraphs (a) through (g) of that paragraph, with the following exceptions. Whereas trustees of the trusts created under Paragraph (4) must be Qualified Financial Institutions, the assets of the custodial account may be held by a bank or another ``person'' (or institution) who demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the manner in which the account will be administered will be consistent with the provisions of the AFI Act, and that the IDA's will be created and maintained as described in paragraph (4) and Section 404(5)(A) of the AFI Act. In addition, in the case of a custodial account treated as a trust by reason of this paragraph, the custodian of such account may be the Project Grantee, provided that it can assure compliance with the requirements of Paragraph (4) above, and Section 404(5)(A) of the AFI Act. These arrangements would place the ``custodial'' responsibilities with the grantee, and relieve financial institutions of trustee obligations. The Secretary has determined that the assets of any such accounts must be held in an insured financial institution and be subject to the provisions of Paragraph M, below, pertaining to agreements between applicants/grantees and participating financial institutions.
Within the meaning of this OCS Program Announcement, IDA
``Custodial Accounts'' in which project participants deposit their
savings may be solely owned by the participant and in the sole name of
the participant. Funds in the account may only be expended for
``Qualified Expenses'' or an ``Emergency Withdrawal'' as defined in the
AFIA and this Program Announcement; and in keeping with this
restriction, any withdrawals must be approved in writing by a
responsible official of the project grantee. At the same time, if the
participant requests approval for an ``unauthorized withdrawal'', that
is, for other than a ``Qualified Expense'' or ``Emergency Withdrawal''
as defined in the AFIA, and Part I, Section D (4) and (12), above, the
project grantee must agree to approve such an ``Unauthorized
Withdrawal'', with the explicit understanding on the part of both the
grantee and the participant, that the participant thereby loses any
matching funds credited to the account, and must exit the program. (6) Deposits in Individual Development Accounts
(a) Matching contributions. Not less than once every three months during the demonstration project grantees will make deposits into Individual Development Accounts as matching contributions to deposits from earned income made by Project Participants during the period since the previous deposit. Such deposits may be made either into the accounts themselves or into a parallel account maintained by the grantee in an insured financial institution (or in the grantee institution itself, in the case of grantees which are eligible Credit Unions or CDFI's).
Note: Deposits made by Project Participants shall be deemed to have been made from earned income so long as the Participant's earned income (as defined in Section 911(d)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) during the period since the Participant's previous deposit in the account is greater than the amount of the current deposit.
Section 911(d)(2) provides, in relevant part, ``the term `earned income' means wages, salaries, or professional fees, and other amounts received as compensation for personal services actually rendered''.
Matching contributions (as deposits to IDA accounts or to parallel
accounts) must be made to IDA's in equal amounts from Federal grant
funds and the nonFederal public and private funds committed to the
project as matching contributions, as described in Section I below, and
Sections 405(c)(4) and 406(b)(1) of the AFI Act. Such matching
contribution deposits by grantees may be from $0.50 to $4 in non
Federal funds and an equal amount in Federal grant funds, for each
dollar of earned income deposited in the account by the Project
Participant in whose name the account is established. At the time
matching contribution deposits are made, the grantee will also deposit
into the Individual Development Account (or the parallel account) any
interest or income that has accrued since the last deposit on amounts
previously deposited in or credited to that IDA in the parallel account.
(b) Additional matching contributions. Once such equal matching contribution deposits are made, grantees may make additional matching contributions to IDA's from other nonFederal sources, or other Federal sources, such as TANF, where the legislation or policies governing such programs so permit. Such additional matching contributions would not be a use of funds falling within any Program Element/Proposal Review Criterion under Part III below, which formed the basis for the grant award, and as such, grantees will not be held accountable for their commitment to the project.
(c) Limitations on matching contributions. Over the course of the five year demonstration, not more than $2,000 in Federal grant funds shall be provided through matching contributions to any one individual; and not more than $4,000 shall be provided to IDA's in any one household. [As noted in Paragraph (1)(d), above, no part of any investment income earned by monies in the Reserve Fund or a parallel account credited to the Participant is to be considered as a Federal funds contribution subject to this limitation.]
(7) Withdrawals From Individual Development Accounts
(a) Limitations. Under no circumstances may funds be withdrawn from an Individual Development Account earlier than six months after the initial deposit by a Project Participant in the Account. Thereafter funds may be withdrawn from such account only upon written approval of the Project Participant and of a responsible official of the project grantee, and only for one or more Qualified Expenses (as defined in Part I) or for an Emergency Withdrawal. (But see Paragraph (5) Custodial Accounts, above, for the Participant's right to make ``unauthorized withdrawals'' and the consequences thereof.) (b) Emergency withdrawals. An Emergency Withdrawal may only be of those funds, or a portion of those funds, deposited in the account by the Project Participant, and only for the following purposes: (i) expenses for medical care or necessary to obtain medical care for the Project Participant or a spouse or dependent of the Participant;
(ii) payments necessary to prevent eviction of the Project Participant from, or foreclosure on the mortgage for, the principal residence of the Participant;
(iii) payments necessary to enable the Project Participant to meet necessary living expenses (food, clothing, shelterincluding utilities and heating fuel) following loss of employment.
(c) Reimbursement of emergency withdrawals. A Project Participant shall reimburse an Individual Development Account for any funds withdrawn from the account for an Emergency Withdrawal, not later than 12 months after the date of the withdrawal. If the Participant fails to make the reimbursement, the Project Grantee must transfer back to its Reserve Fund Federal and nonFederal matching contributions deposited into the account or a parallel account, and any income generated thereby. Any remaining funds deposited by the Project Participant (plus any income generated thereby) shall be returned to such Project Participant.
Applicants are urged to consider the establishment of a separate
alternative crisis or emergency loan fund that can respond to
participant emergencies without having them risk putting their IDA in
jeopardy because of an inability to make reimbursement within the required timeframe.
(d) Transfers to individual development accounts of family members. At the request of a Project Participant, and with the written approval of a responsible official of the grantee, amounts may be paid from an individual development account directly into another such account established for the benefit of an eligible individual who is (i) the Participant's spouse, or
(ii) any dependent of the Participant with respect to whom the Participant is allowed a deduction under section 151 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
Note that such transfers may be made to dependents who in turn
would become IDA project participants who would be able to use these
funds for any of the Qualified Expenditures defined in Part I.
Applicants are reminded of the limit of $4000 in Federal IDA matching contributions per household.
H. Project Eligibility and Requirements Under Priority Area 2.0 As previously noted in Part II Section A, there is no Priority Area 2.0 under this Announcement. Applications for continuation of grants funded under Priority Area 2.0 of the Fiscal Year 1999 Assets For Independence Program Announcement will be the subject of direct correspondence between OCS and the grantees.
I. NonFederal Matching Funds Requirements
Applicants must obtain firm commitments for at least one hundred percent of the requested OCS grant amount in cash nonFederal share for deposit to the Reserve Fund as matching contribution. Public sector resources that can be counted toward the minimum required match include funds from State and local governments, and funds from various block grants allocated to the States by the Federal Government provided that the authorizing legislation for these grants permits such use. Note, for example, that Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds may be counted as matching funds; Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds may not. With regard to State TANF funds, any State funds that comprise Maintenance Of Effort (MOE) under the TANF regulations may NOT be used as required nonFederal share under this Announcement. (But see discussion of Additional Matching Contributions in Paragraph (6)(a), above.)
To be considered for funding an Application must include a copy of a ``NonFederal Share Agreement'' or Agreements in writing executed by the Applicant and the organization or organizations providing the required nonFederal matching contributions, signed for the organization by a person authorized to make a commitment on behalf of the organization, and signed for the Applicant by the person signing the SF424. Such Agreement(s) must include: (1) a commitment by the organization to provide the nonFederal funds contingent only on the grant award; and (2) an agreement as to the schedule of the opening of Individual Development Accounts by the Applicant, and the schedule of deposits by the organization to the project's Reserve Fund, such that the two schedules will together assure that there will be at all times in the Reserve Fund nonFederal matching contribution funds sufficient to meet the maximum pledges of matching contributions under the ``Savings Plan Agreements'' for all Individual Development Accounts then open and being maintained by the grantee as part of the demonstration project.
Thus, for example, if the provider of nonFederal share only agrees to a fixed schedule of deposits, this nonFederal share requirement can be met by the Applicant agreeing to a schedule for opening new accounts that will assure that new IDA accounts will only be opened when there are sufficient funds in the Reserve Fund to meet the maximum amount of matching contributions pledged under the ``Savings Plan Agreements''.
Where the Applicant is itself providing any of the required cash nonFederal share, it must include a statement of commitment, on applicant letterhead, signed by the official signing the SF 424 and countersigned by the Applicant's Board Chairperson or Treasurer, that the nonFederal matching funds will be provided, contingent only on the OCS grant award, and that nonFederal share deposits to the Reserve Fund and the opening of Individual Development Accounts will be coordinated so that new accounts will only be opened when there are sufficient funds in the Reserve Fund to cover the maximum matching requirements of the Savings Plan Agreements.
With regard to Applicants which are State or local government agencies or Tribal governments, submitting jointly with tax exempt non profit organizations, note that under Section G Paragraphs (1) and (2), above, Reserve Funds are required to be established as in other applications/projects.
OCS has determined that the strict legislative limitations on the use of Federal grant funds and of the minimum required nonFederal match (under the recent amendments to the AFIA, at least 85% of each must go toward matching deposits in Individual Development Accounts) mean that important training, counseling and support activities, critical to the success of a project, may best be supported by additional resources, both of the applicant itself and mobilized by the applicant in the community. Consequently, Applicants are encouraged to mobilize additional resources, which may be cash or inkind contributions, Federal or nonFederal, for support of project administration and assistance to Project Participants in obtaining skills, knowledge, and needed support services. (See Part III, Element V) Applicants are reminded that they will be held accountable for commitments of such additional resources even if over the amount of the required nonFederal match.
In accordance with the provisions of the AFI Act, in considering an
application to conduct a demonstration project under this Announcement, OCS will give preference to an application that:
(1) demonstrates the willingness and ability of the applicant to select eligible individuals for participation in the project who are predominantly from households in which a child (or children) is living with the child's biological or adoptive mother or father, or with the child's legal guardian.
Note: Applications that target TANF eligible households will be deemed to have met this preference.
(2) provides a commitment of nonFederal funds with a
proportionately greater amount of such funds committed from private sector sources; and
(3) targets individuals residing within one or more relatively welldefined neighborhoods or communities (including rural communities) that experience high rates of poverty or unemployment.
Note: Applications which target residents of Empowerment Zones, Enterprise Communities, Public Housing, or CDFI Funddesignated Distressed Communities will be deemed to have met this preference. (For information on CDFI Fund designation of Distressed Communities applicants may visit the CDFI Help Desk Website at: http:// www.cdfifundhelp.gov.)
Each of these preferences will be valued at 2 points in the Application Review process, so that applicants not meeting these preferences will have 2 points subtracted from its score for a given Proposal Element for each preference not met. [Preferences (1) and (3) fall under Proposal Element II(a); Preference (2) falls under Proposal Element V(a)]. In the case of a consortium of organizations operating programs funded through a lead agency, if a majority of the participating organizations meet these legislative preferences, the Application as a whole will be awarded these points.
K. Multiple Applications
Qualified Entities may submit more than one application for different demonstration projects, but no more than one such application will be funded to the same Qualified Entity pursuant to this Announcement.
L. Treatment of Program Income.
As noted in Section G Paragraph (1)(d), above, income generated from investment of unallocated funds in the Reserve Fund may be added to the funds already committed from the Reserve Fund to program administration, participant support, or evaluation data collection. However, once funds have been committed as matching contributions to Individual Development Accounts, then any income subsequently generated by such funds must be deposited proportionately to the credit of such accounts.
Note: No part of such income is to be considered as a Federal
funds contribution subject to the $2000/$4000 limitations under Section G Paragraph (6)(c), above.
M. Agreements with Partnering Financial Institutions/Statements of Policy
One of the most critical parts of a successful IDA project is the relationship between the project operator and a partnering financial institution, be it a bank or credit union. Not only does the financial institution provide the situs of the Individual Development Accounts, but it also represents for IDA holders their doorway to mainstream economic life: savings and checking accounts, ATM machines, payroll deduction savings, home mortgages, and the opportunity for credit repair, student and business loans, all within a framework of sound financial planning. Moreover, many banks see nonFederal share contributions to the project's Reserve Fund as sound investments which not only offer them tax deductions and CRA credit, but also introduce them to a whole new body of potential longterm clients.
For all these reasons it is vitally important for applicants to develop strong and mutually supportive relationships with the financial institutions which will be their partners in carrying out the IDA project. Thus, all applicants under this Announcement must enter into agreements with one or more insured Financial Institutions, in collaboration with which Reserve Funds and Individual Development Accounts will be established and maintained. [For applicants which are eligible Credit Unions or CDFI's, see Note at end of this Section, below.]
To be considered for funding, an Application submitted by other than an eligible Credit Union or Community Development Financial Institution must include a copy of an Agreement or Agreements with one or more partnering insured Financial Institutions which include(s) the provisions set out in Part III Element II(c), which state(s) that the accounting procedures to be followed in account management will conform to Guidelines (CFR Part 74) established by the Secretary (Note: Such regulations may be found at 45 CFR part 1000), and under which the partnering insured Financial Institution agrees to provide data and reports as requested by the applicant. In the case of IDA's established as Trusts under Section G Paragraph (4), above, the partnering financial institution must be a Qualified Financial Institution as defined in PART I Section D(12). In the case of IDA's established as Custodial Accounts, the partnering financial institution must be insured and must meet the requirements of Section G Paragraph (5), above, to the satisfaction of the Secretary. [For applications submitted by eligible Credit Unions or Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI's) see Note below.]
The Agreement may also include other services to be provided by the partnering Financial Institution that could strengthen the program, such as Financial Education Seminars, favorable pricing or matching contributions provided by the Financial Institution, and assistance in recruitment of Project Participants. Strong and complete Agreements with financial institutions will be recognized in the application review process under SubElement II(c) of the application Evaluation Criteria under Part III, below.
Note: In the case of applications submitted by eligible Credit
Unions or Community Development Financial Institutions, where the
Reserve Fund and IDA accounts are to be held by the applicant
Institution itself, the applicant must submit, in lieu of a
Financial Institution Agreement, a Statement of Policy, approved by
its Board of Directors and attested to by its Chairperson and Chief
Financial Officer, which meets the requirements set forth in this
section (M.) and in Part III SubElement II(c). This Statement of
Policy will be considered in the application review process under SubElement II(c). Where such applicants are proposing the
establishment of Reserve Fund(s) or IDA's in other partnering Financial Institutions, they must submit as part of their
applications copies of Agreements with such Partnering Financial Institution(s) in accordance with this section (M.).
Part III. The Project Description, Program Proposal Elements and Review Criteria
The project description provides the major means by which an
application is evaluated and ranked to compete with other applications
for available assistance. The project description should be concise and
complete and should address the activity for which Federal funds are
being requested. Supporting documents should be included where they can
present information clearly and succinctly. Applicants are encouraged
to provide information on their organizational structure, staff,
related experience, and other information considered to be relevant.
Awarding offices use this and other information to determine whether
the applicant has the capability and resources necessary to carry out
the proposed project. It is important, therefore, that this information
be included in the application. However, in the narrative the applicant must distinguish between resources directly
related to the proposed project from those that will not be used in support of the specific project for which funds are requested. B. Project Summary/Abstract
Provide a summary of the project description (a page or less) with reference to the funding request.
C. Objectives and Need for Assistance
Clearly identify the physical, economic, social, financial, instructional, and/or other problem(s) requiring a solution. The need for assistance must be demonstrated and the principal and subordinate objectives of the project must be clearly stated; supporting documentation, such as letters of support and testimonials from concerned interests other than the applicant, may be included. Any relevant data based on planning studies should be included or referred to in the endnotes/footnotes. Incorporate demographic data and participant/beneficiary information, as needed. In developing the project description, the applicant may volunteer or be requested to provide information on the total range of projects currently being conducted and supported (or to be initiated), some of which may be outsi
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Sheldon Shalit (202) 401-4807, email@example.com, or Richard Saul (202) 4019341, firstname.lastname@example.org, Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services, 370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW, Washington, DC, 20447.
In addition, this Announcement is accessible on the OCS WEBSITE for reading or downloading at: http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/ocs/ under ``Funding Opportunities.''
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number for this program is 93.602. The title is Assets for Independence Demonstration Program (IDA Program).