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Request for FY 2010 Applications for the Residential

Published: January 7, 2010

Request for FY 2010 Applications for the Residential Energy Assistance Challenge Program (REACH), Round 2

AT-2010-3, DATED 1/7/10                           



SUBJECT:       Request for FY 2010 Applications for the Residential
               Energy Assistance Challenge Program (REACH), Round 2


REFERENCES:    Low Income Home Energy Assistance Act (LIHEAP), Title
               XXVI of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981,
               Public Law (P.L.) 97-35, the Human Services Amendments
               of 1994 (P.L. 103-252); the Energy Policy Act of 2005
               (P.L. 109-58); and LIHEAP-AT-2009-3, Round 1.


DUE DATE:      March 30, 2010 - Grantee applications for REACH awards
               MUST be postmarked on or before this date.  No late
               applications will be considered (no exceptions).


PURPOSE:       To inform LIHEAP grantees that applications are being
               requested under the FY 2010 REACH Program, Round 2,
               and to provide a copy of the OMB approved REACH Model
               Plan format that may be used to apply for REACH funds
               each year.


BACKGROUND:    The Human Services Amendments of 1994 (P.L. 103-252)
               amended the LIHEAP statute to add Section 2607B, which
               established the REACH program.  The REACH program is
               intended to address the following home energy

               (1) Minimize health and safety risks that result from
                   high energy burdens on low-income Americans;
               (2) Reduce home energy vulnerability and prevent
                   homelessness as a result of inability to pay
                   energy bills;

               (3) Increase the efficiency of energy usage by low-
                   income families, helping them achieve energy self-
                   sufficiency; and
               (4) Target energy assistance to individuals who are
                   most in need.

               REACH programs are to be designed to address the home
               energy needs of LIHEAP-eligible households.  Home
               energy is defined in the LIHEAP statute as "a source
               of heating or cooling in residential dwellings."
               Increases to the energy efficiency of homes, such as
               activities that provide weatherization and energy
               related home repair, are also acceptable REACH
               activities.  In addition to designing REACH programs
               that are home energy related, programs should
               emphasize the health and safety of vulnerable
               households (i.e., households with elderly members,
               small children and disabled individuals).

               The public health and safety aspects of LIHEAP were
               underscored in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, enacted
               on August 8, 2005 (P.L. 109-58).  Section 1804 of
               Title XVIII of the Energy Policy Act required the U.S.
               Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to
               submit a report to Congress on how LIHEAP could be
               used more effectively to prevent loss of life from
               extreme temperatures.  On February 15, 2007, the
               Department submitted its LIHEAP Report to Congress,
               Preventing Loss of Life Due to Extreme Indoor
               Temperatures.  Further reporting may be derived from
               results identified through REACH evaluations.

               Since FY 2007, the REACH program has undergone
               substantial changes.  Application requirements and the
               information necessary for grantees to receive REACH
               funds have been reduced.  A reduced application format
               is being provided with this Action Transmittal.

               We have also incorporated into the REACH program the
               same financial rules for the obligation and
               expenditure of REACH funds that are used under the
               Leveraging Incentive Program (also offered through
               LIHEAP). These rules require that REACH funds be
               obligated within the two year grant period, and that
               funds be expended within a reasonable timeframe after
               the end of the grant period.  This extension covering
               the expenditure of REACH funds permits grantees to
               support the costs involved in producing evaluation
               reports, which are due six months after the end of the
               grant period.

               REACH funds are available only to LIHEAP grantees. 
               States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico 
               must coordinate REACH efforts with community-based
               organizations (CBOs) to assure that REACH services
               are implemented and operated by these entities. 
               Tribes/Tribal Organizations and Insular Areas (other
               than Puerto Rico) may administer their programs
               without sub-contracting or sub-granting to a CBO.

               The LIHEAP statute provides that up to $50 million of
               the LIHEAP block grant appropriation may be used to
               support a Leveraging Incentive Program.  The 1994
               amendments to the LIHEAP statute provide that a
               portion of the leveraging funds (up to 25 percent)
               mat be set aside for REACH awards.


CONTENT:       As a follow-up to the Department's Congressional
               Report, the HHS Office of Community Services has
               decided to focus REACH grants on promoting innovative
               initiatives that address home energy-related health
               and safety issues and "home energy vulnerability"
               (i.e., the risk to personal health and safety that is
               associated with home energy affordability.)  REACH
               programs must be both home-energy related and focused
               on health and safety of vulnerable households.

               REACH funds are available to LIHEAP grantees to plan
               and implement innovative programs.  LIHEAP grantees
               that wish to receive FY 2010 REACH awards must submit
               an application for these funds following the
               requirements listed in Section 2607B of the LIHEAP
               statute and as outlined in this Action Transmittal.

                            FY 2010 REACH Grants - Round 2

               This Action Transmittal represents the second round of
               applications requested for FY 2010 REACH grants.  Due
               to language in the FY 2009 continuing resolution (CR)
               enacted on September 30, 2008 (P.L. 110-329), no FY
               2009 funds were set aside for FY 2009 REACH grants. 
               As a result, in October 2009, DEA issued the first
               round of FY 2010 REACH grants based on the REACH
               applications submitted in FY 2009.  We expect to
               resume the regular annual time period for requesting
               REACH applications and issuing grants in FY 2011.

                                REACH Requirements

               Please review the attached guidance (Attachment 1),
               which explains the REACH requirements in detail.  The
               major highlights are:

               • REACH funds are awarded for a two year grant period. 
                 Funds must be obligated in the year of award and/or
                 the following year.  FY 2010 REACH funds must be
                 fully obligated by September 30, 2011.  Funds must
                 be expended within a reasonable timeframe after the
                 end of the grant period.  Therefore, once funds are
                 timely obligated, grantees are permitted to expend
                 REACH funds to complete program activities and to
                 support the cost of the evaluation report, which is
                 due six months after the end of the grant period.
                 It will not be necessary for REACH grantees to
                 request grant extensions to expend funds that have
                 been timely obligated.

               • Only REACH applications that are home energy related
                 and focus on innovative health and safety practices
                 for vulnerable populations will be considered. 
                 Examples of REACH programs that focus on these needs
                 may include partnerships with health departments,
                 utilities or organizations that serve frail elderly,
                 disabled and/or households with young children.

               • REACH programs must provide benefits, services, and
                 activities only to LIHEAP-eligible households.
               • Strong preference will be given to States, Tribes/
                 Tribal Organizations and Insular Areas that have not
                 received REACH grants in the past.

               • Successful FY 2010 REACH grantees must submit their
                 evaluation reports within six months following the
                 end of the two-year obligation period.  If, for any
                 reason REACH programs are still operating at this
                 time, grantees must submit an interim final report
                 and follow-up with the final evaluation report when
                 the program is completed.  Therefore, an evaluation
                 report is due no later than March 30, 2012. 
                 Grantees are ineligible for future REACH funds until
                 the objective evaluation report is received.

               • States are not required to contract for an outside

               • If approved, States, Tribes/Tribal Organizations and
                 Insular Areas will receive funds for their basic
                 REACH programs, but additional funds may be awarded
                 for applications that include an approved Energy
                 Efficiency Education Services (EEES) plan that
                 contains health and safety components related to
                 home energy.  An EEES plan is optional and not
                 required as part of the REACH application.  (More
                 details on funding are included in Attachment 1.)

                            REACH Application Instructions

               Attached is the REACH Model Plan format(Attachment 2)
               that you may use in developing your FY 2010 REACH
               plans.  The REACH application process has been
               standardized in an OMB approved form similar to the
               Model Plan for LIHEAP block grant funds.  REACH
               applications now have a set annual deadline of March
               30.  You are not required to use the Model Plan
               format.  You may submit your REACH application in any
               format you wish, as long as it includes all the
               information required under the statute and does not
               exceed page limits identified in Attachment I under
               REACH Plans.

               As with regular block grant assurances, LIHEAP
               grantees applying for REACH funds must provide the
               appropriate signature to the REACH assurances (Section
               2607B(e)(2)(A) through (M) of the LIHEAP Act), and
               furnish descriptions where required.  See the REACH
               Model Plan for certification statement and the
               signature block.

               The assurances printed at the beginning of the REACH
               Model Plan are from the LIHEAP statute.  Grantees who
               choose not to use the Model Plan may wish to use these
               pages.  For all REACH applications, please be sure
               that (1) the Governor or Tribal Chairperson signs the
               assurances or (2) the person who signs the assurances
               has specifically delegated authority to sign the REACH
               assurances (and include a copy of that delegation with
               your REACH application).

               We will set aside no more than $1.5 million to award
               grants to two States and four Tribes/Insular Areas
               under the REACH program.  (Insular Areas that
               consolidate their LIHEAP funds under another HHS block
               grant are not eligible for REACH funds.)  If a
               sufficient number of qualified applications for REACH
               funds are not received, unused funds will be awarded
               under the Leveraging Incentive Program.

               To be considered for funding, REACH applications must
               be submitted to the address listed below and
               postmarked on or before the March 30, 2010 due date.
               The Office of Community Services will not consider
               applications postmarked after this date, and no
               exceptions will be granted.


TO:                      Nick St. Angelo, Director
                         Division of Energy Assistance
                         Office of Community Services
                         370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W., 5th Floor West
                         Washington, D.C.  20447
                         Fax:  (202) 401-5661
                         E-mail:  nstangelo@acf.hhs.gov


CONTACT:       Questions may be directed to Charlotte Abney at
               202-401-5334 or E-mail: cabney@acf.hhs.gov.


ATTACHMENTS:   (1)   REACH Program Guidance and Policy
               (2)   REACH Model Plan


                              Nick St. Angelo
                              Division of Energy Assistance
                              Office of Community Services