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LIHEAP AT 2010-3 Request for Applications for the Residential Energy Assistance Challenge Program (REACH), Round 2 for FY 2010

Published: January 7, 2010
Audience:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Category:
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Action Transmittal

THIS CONTAINS INFORMATION ISSUED BY THE U.S. ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN LIHEAP ACTION TRANSMITTAL NO. LIHEAP-AT-2010-3, DATED 1/7/10

TO: LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP) GRANTEES AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES

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

RELATED
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 concerns:

(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) may 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 foocus 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 evaluator.

If approved, States, Tribes/Tribal Organizations and Insular Areas will receive funds for their basic 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.

SUBMISSIONS
TO: Nick St. Angelo, Director
Division of Energy Assistance
Office of Community Services
370 LEnfant 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


_______________/s_______________
Nick St. Angelo
Director
Division of Energy Assistance
Office of Community Services