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Department of Health and Human Services: Community Economic Development Projects

Deadline: July 12, 2021

The Community Economic Development (CED) program recognizes that non-profit Community Development Corporations (CDCs) know their communities and can efficiently and effectively create new community economic development projects in their communities. The objective of the program is to support businesses that develop new products, services, and commercial activities that result in new positions for individuals with low income. These positions should:

  • Be ready to implement at the time of award;
  • Lead to increased self-sufficiency, through wages, benefits, and opportunities for career growth, for individuals and families with low incomes;
  • Create businesses and jobs in low-income communities that improve the livelihood of not only those who obtain those jobs but also the community itself; and
  • Attract additional public and private funds to increase investment and quality of life in low-income communities.

Community buy-in is a critical aspect of the CED program as it helps to ensure that there is continued community support for the project, which will lead to sustained success of the project beyond the CED project period. In order to secure community buy-in and ensure that CDCs are effectively addressing the needs of their communities, it is critical that the Board of Directors for the governing organization include representation from the community in which the proposed project will be located.

CED-funded projects can be construction projects, or non-construction projects.

Non-construction projects must be ready to be implemented at the time of the grant award. It is expected that all participating business expansion/creation and job creation for non-construction projects is completed, and CED funds, expended within non-construction project period of 3-years. Non-construction projects involve limited alteration or renovation, costing less than $250,000 to support participating business creation and/or expansion and job creation. Non-construction projects typically involve a loan(s) or equity investment(s) in participating business(es). Business plans for CED projects that demonstrate they are ready to implement must include a realistic project plan with the following key elements:

  1. A timeline that demonstrates the proposed project will be completed and all CED funding expended within the proposed grant.
  2. A plan demonstrating that CED funds will be managed consistently with applicable federal regulations.
  3. A proposal demonstrating how grantees will support participating business creation/expansion and job creation.

Applicants proposing non-construction projects must propose to create at least a minimum number of jobs. See solicitation for details.

Construction projects must be ready to be implemented at the time of the grant award and completed during the assigned project period. It is expected that all participating business expansion/creation and job creation for construction projects is completed and CED funds expended within a 5- year project period. Construction projects involve construction or renovation (see solicitation for definitions). Construction projects typically include commercial real estate for lease or use by the gamut of small- and large-scale business operations. The CED program permits facility construction, as needed, to support participating business creation, expansion, and/or job creation. Business plans for CED construction projects must include a realistic project plan with the following key elements:

  1. A timeline that clearly demonstrates that the proposed construction project will be completed and all CED funding expended within the proposed grant period.
  2. A plan demonstrating that CED funds will be managed consistently with applicable federal regulations.
  3. A proposal demonstrating how grantees will use the property for the originally authorized purpose and will not encumber the property without prior approval. See solicitation for details.
  4. Evidence that grantees are ready to begin construction upon award, including contracts or other third-party agreements with parties involved in the construction.
  5. A proposal demonstrating how grantees will support participating business creation/expansion and job creation. Applicants proposing construction projects must propose to create at least a minimum number of jobs. See solicitation for details.

Regardless of the type of project, financial documents must show that all necessary financing is in place and not contingent upon other financing sources, and that signed agreements are in place with the first identified borrower or investment and other project partner(s). CED project applications are expected to demonstrate that the project budget includes all CED and non-CED funds needed to implement the project and result in the successful creation of jobs, as outlined in the proposed application. See solicitation for details of additional funding requirements.

While the focus of the program is on the creation of jobs for individuals with low incomes, it is not expected that 100 percent of the created jobs be filled by individuals with low incomes. Often when a business is created or expanded, there is a need to hire high-level managers or other content experts with unique skills and/or experiences that may be more difficult to identify and recruit. For this reason, a minimum of 75 percent of the newly created jobs must be filled by individuals with low incomes.

Funds may be used for the start-up or expansion activities of participating businesses, provided that the expenditures result in the creation of positions that can be filled with individuals with low incomes. This includes:

  • Start-up capital for operating expenses, such as salaries, facilities, and equipment that will be replaced by projected earnings;
  • Loans to identified, viable, participating businesses, and/or;
  • Equity or stock investment in identified viable, participating businesses.

CED projects may utilize multiple strategies as long as they result in the creation of full-time positions. See solicitation for details.

Note: The training and placement of individuals in positions existing prior to the start of the project, even positions guaranteed to individuals with low incomes through a formal agreement with an employer, is not considered job creation. Limited incubator development is allowable, as long as the applicant demonstrates the incubator will support participating businesses that demonstrate the financial capacity to create the agreed-upon jobs for individuals with low incomes within the proposed geographic location. For more information about an incubator, see solicitation.

Amount: A total of $13,600,000 is available to make 17 awards ranging from $100,000 to $800,000 per project period.

Eligibility: Applicants must:

  1. be a private, non-profit CDC with 501(c)(3) status;
  2. have articles of incorporation or bylaws demonstrating that the CDC has, as a principal purpose, the planning, developing, or managing of low-income housing or community economic development activities; and
  3. have a Board of Directors with representation from community residents, business leaders, and civic leaders.

Note: The CDC designation does not need to be specified on any official documents as long as the three requirements stated above are met. Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=333377

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