SCP Call 4 Q&A Summary
1. What is SCAG?
Founded in 1965, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is a Joint Powers Authority under California state law, established as an association of local governments and agencies that voluntarily convene as a forum to address regional issues. Under federal law, SCAG is designated as a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and under state law as a Regional Transportation Planning Agency and a Council of Governments.
The SCAG region encompasses six counties (Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura) and 191 cities in an area covering more than 38,000 square miles. The agency develops long-range regional transportation plans including sustainable communities strategy and growth forecast components, regional transportation improvement programs, regional housing needs allocations and a portion of the South Coast Air Quality management plans. In 1992, SCAG expanded its governing body, the Executive Committee, to a 70-member Regional Council to help accommodate new responsibilities mandated by the federal and state governments, as well as to provide more broad-based representation of Southern California’s cities and counties. With its expanded membership structure, SCAG created regional districts to provide for more diverse representation. The districts were formed with the intent to serve equal populations and communities of interest. Currently, the Regional Council consists of 86 members.
In addition to the six counties and 191 cities that make up SCAG’s region, there are six County Transportation Commissions that hold the primary responsibility for programming and implementing transportation projects, programs, and services in their respective counties. Additionally, SCAG Bylaws provide for representation of Native American tribes and Air Districts in the region on the Regional Council and Policy Committees.
More information about SCAG can be found on our website: https://scag.ca.gov/.
2. What is the Sustainable Communities Program?
The Sustainable Communities Program (SCP) provides direct technical assistance and resources to local agencies to support local planning efforts in the areas of transportation, land use, housing, and sustainability, and enable implementation of the Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS), which today is called Connect SoCal.
The SCP provides local jurisdictions with multiple opportunities to seek funding and resources to meet the needs of their communities, address recovery and resiliency strategies considering COVID-19, and support regional goals. The adopted Connect SoCal can be found here: https://scag.ca.gov/read-plan-adopted-final-plan.
3. What is REAP 2.0 and how does SCP Call 4 fit into SCAG’s larger REAP 2.0 program?
Regional Early Action Planning Grant Program for 2021 (REAP 2021 or REAP 2.0) was established through AB 140 (July 2021) as part of the mid-year budget revise for the State’s FY 21-22 budget. Approximately $600 million is available statewide to support transformative and innovative projects that implement a region’s Sustainable Communities Strategy and help achieve goals of more housing and transportation options that reduce reliance on cars. Approximately $500 million of these funds are from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) establishment of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF), and the balance are State General Funds. These new funds will be provided as grants to regional entities, primarily metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) such as SCAG. The SCAG region’s formula share is $246,024,084. All REAP 2021 funds are to be obligated by June of 2024 and expended by June 2026, with a final closeout report due June 2026.
The California Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) is the lead for the program and will work collaboratively with the Strategic Growth Council (SGC), Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), and State Air Resources Board (CARB), to develop detailed guidelines for implementation.
SCP Call 4 is one of many strategies that SCAG has proposed as part of its REAP 2.0 allocation, utilizing $5 million of those available funds for project awards.
The State has released Draft Guidelines for REAP 2.0, available here. The State anticipates releasing Final Guidelines for REAP 2.0 in summer 2022. SCP Call 4 program guidelines are based on the current Draft Guidelines for REAP 2.0 and are contingent on the release of the Final REAP 2.0 Guidelines. Over the past year, SCAG has conducted robust engagement and has collected feedback from partners to shape the Call.
4. Can I suggest other organizations for SCAG to involve and share this process?
Yes. SCP information and SCAG staff contact information are open to the public to involve, share, and include organizations and other interested parties in the process.
5. Will the application materials be made available in Spanish?
Yes. SCP Call 4 application materials will be made available in Spanish. If you need assistance in a language other than Spanish or English, please contact Anita Au at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Who do I contact if I have more questions about the program?
Please direct any questions about the program to Anita Au at email@example.com.
7. What is the total available funding? What is the expected grant size? What is the range for awards?
SCAG anticipates a total of $5 million to be available for SCP Call 4, pending approval from HCD. The funding range per project is determined by project size and scope, although SCAG anticipates project awards up to $250,000 for most projects. There are currently no minimum or maximum award amounts. Award amounts will vary based on the scope of the proposed project.
Budgets and project lists for the previous 2020 SCP grants approved by SCAG’s Regional Council are publicly available on SCAG’s Website:
Active Transportation and Safety Recommended Project List and
[Agenda Item 5 starting Packet Pg. 182]
Smart Cities & Mobility Innovations Award
[Agenda Item 11 starting Packet Pg. 199]
Housing & Sustainable Development Recommended
[Agenda Item 7 starting on Packet Pg. 115)
8. How many projects will be awarded in each county? Is there a limit to the number of projects awarded per county?
There is no pre-determined allocation or number of projects per county. The project award list shall be determined through the evaluation process and approval by the Regional Council. However, this Call for Applications will prioritize funding in areas that have been traditionally disadvantaged, underserved, underrepresented, and under resourced, as aligned with REAP 2.0 guidelines.
9. How will community-based organizations (CBOs) receive a “bigger piece of the pie” considering the small amounts historically allocated to them?
Proposals shall include budgets that identify appropriate compensation for CBOs to lead key elements of the project. In addition, the application and evaluation criteria emphasize equitable, respectful, and reciprocal partnerships.
10. Is it possible to pursue a multi-year funding model? Can these funds be used to cover operating costs?
SCP Call 4 project award recommendations and approval is anticipated in Spring 2023. Final work and invoices shall be submitted by June 2025. The Sustainable Communities Program aims to provide funds for planning projects and does not currently provide multi-year funding for general operations.
11. Will this program directly award funding?
SCP is primarily a technical assistance program. However, for this call, SCAG will explore opportunities to directly fund agencies and CBO partners to carry out work.
12. Can applicants apply for resources to support existing projects?
Yes. Applicants may submit proposals for new or on-going (or existing) projects, provided that SCP Call 4 funding will be utilized to expand or continue those projects, rather than supplanting existing public funds. Projects will be evaluated based on the available scoring criteria.
13. Should applicants build the scope based on a single project type? Can applicants submit a project that is not on the list of example project types?
Projects should respond to local need. Project scopes may include multiple project types or include a project type not identified by SCAG. This Call for Application includes projects focused across multiple categories. All proposed planning strategies and project types must explain how it meaningfully responds to a negative economic impact of the pandemic and show that the program or project serves impacted households, as defined by REAP 2.0 guidelines. To learn more about REAP 2.0 requirements, please review the Draft REAP 2.0 Guidelines.
14. Can applicants submit multiple applications?
Yes. Applicants may submit multiple applications and shall indicate project priority on submitted their applications.
15. What types of projects are eligible for this Call? Are planning and implementation projects eligible? And are there any limitations on how funding can be spent?
At this time, planning projects, engagement activities, pilot projects, and studies are eligible. All planning efforts and studies are eligible if they lead to and can demonstrate feasible implementation. Call 4 seeks to provide immediate benefit to the region through support for transformative planning activities that can be implemented quickly to advance strategies in Connect SoCal 2020 and inform the 2024 plan update. This call is focused on Connect SoCal 2020 implementation either through the deployment of pilot projects or support for the creation and/or expansion of new projects that directly support housing and mobility solutions.
SCP Call 4 is not supporting capital improvement construction projects. The Call prioritizes planning or analysis of feasibility and planning and upfront activities. SCP Call 4 funding parameters align with Draft REAP 2.0 Guidelines. All projects need to meet COVID 19 response and recovery goals and at least one other objective: accelerate infill development, affirmatively furthering fair housing, or reducing vehicle miles traveled.
16. Are broadband assessments or planning activities eligible?
Broadband activities are generally ineligible due to other funding available throughout the state for these types of projects.
17. Are Electric Vehicle (EV) plans or assessments an eligible cost?
Proposed projects must address the core REAP 2.0 objectives, as outlined in the SCP Call 4 Guidelines. If the EV planning is part of a housing structure, then yes, this project would be eligible. Infrastructure for EV charging stations is not eligible.
18. Can an organization receive funding for advocacy-motivated community engagement?
The application guidelines outline “Planning Convenings and Community Engagement” as a project category, and will include planning projects that utilize project ideation, research, direct engagement and people to engage in redefine their relationships to each other and to those in positions of power, building civic engagement and institutions that can address complex problems, represent the will and power of the community, and contribute knowledge and experience that other communities can use. Lobbying efforts and/or political campaigning are not allowable expenses.
19. When should projects start? When do projects need to be completed by?
SCAG anticipates projects to start in Winter 2023 and complete by Spring 2025.
20. Who is eligible to apply as an agency applicant? Are there any government agencies that are ineligible for this call?
- Local or Regional Agencies – Examples include cities, counties, councils of government, Regional Transportation Planning Agencies, and County Public Health Departments.
- Transit Agencies – Any agency responsible for public transportation that is eligible for funds under the Federal Transit Administration.
- Natural Resources or Public Land Agencies – Federal, State, or local agency responsible for natural resources or public land administration.
- Tribal Governments – Federally-recognized Native American Tribes.
The Draft REAP 2.0 Guidelines include a list of all eligible entities that can receive funding.
21. How is a co-applicant defined? What are the minimum requirements for a co-applicant? Are organizations with a fiscal sponsor eligible?
The following entities, within the SCAG region, are eligible to apply for this Call for Applications as co-applicants with an eligible agency applicant:
- Community-based organizations, non-profits, and social enterprises that fulfill a social or public service mission.
- Multiple co-applicants may apply alongside the agency applicant.
- An organization that utilizes a fiscal sponsor is eligible to apply.
All awarded co-applicants are expected to undergo SCAG’s risk assessment process to ensure that recipients of grant funds maintain adequate financial management systems prior to receiving the funds. Awardees and co-applicants are required to maintain an accounting system that properly records and segregates incurred project costs by line item. The accounting system of the awardee, including its co-applicants and subcontractors, must conform to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles that enable the determination of incurred costs at interim points of completion and provides support for reimbursement payment vouchers or invoices sent to or paid by SCAG. Allowable project costs must comply with applicable cost principles and regulations.
22. Can community-based organizations (CBOs) lead an application for this call?
No, agency applicants must serve as the lead applicant and CBOs shall be co-applicants. An agency applicant is required, while a CBO co-applicant is recommended.
23. Are higher education districts applicable entities?
Yes, higher education districts are eligible agency applicants.
24. Have community-based organizations (CBOs) received Sustainable Community Program resources in the past?
The Sustainable Communities Program has not directly awarded resources to CBOs in the previous calls. This fourth Call for Applications adopts an approach to strategically invest in local community-led planning efforts with the direct involvement of CBOs as co-applicants.
25. Could community members bring project ideas to SCAG?
Yes. Community members are encouraged to share thoughts and ideas on how SCAG can improve the lives of Southern Californians, including through project ideas. This program specifically aims to build community capacity, trust, and sustainable relationships with stakeholders. Feel free to connect with SCAG and send project ideas to Anita Au at firstname.lastname@example.org.
26. Which regions can apply?
Applicants from the SCAG region are eligible to apply. The SCAG region is comprised of Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties.
27. May funds be used for housing trust funds? In the event that the trust fund needs seed funding, is this eligible?
Housing trust funds are a component of the Housing Supportive Infrastructure Program at SCAG. For further information, please reach out to email@example.com.
28. How do potential applicants identify partnerships? Can SCAG facilitate partnerships between co-applicants and local agencies?
Through this Call, SCAG aims to foster meaningful working relationships between local governments and community-based organizations to facilitate and inform equitable community planning and development to address the pervasive and deep inequities experienced in historically under-resourced communities.
To facilitate application development, SCAG staff will be available via office hours, and host Application webinars open to the public, to assist with project identification and proposal development. In addition, SCAG will be available to help community-based organizations identify potential agency partners.
29. Does an agency have to apply with a co-applicant to be eligible?
No. However, the co-applicant structure is strongly recommended. This Call for Applications allows agency applicants to apply in partnership with up to two co-applicants. The agency applicant may apply with CBO partner using the co-applicant partnership structure.
Under an agency and co-applicant partnership structure, co-applicants can be compensated to lead key elements of the project. In addition, a consultant team may be procured to perform identified work on behalf of the agency and co-applicant partnership.
30. Can community-based organizations (CBOs) partner with universities?
The agency applicant must be an agency as defined in response to question 20, inclusive of universities. CBOs may partner with universities as a part of a coalition of community-based partners.
31. Can a jurisdiction partner with a coalition of community-based organizations?
Yes. Up to two co-applicants may apply alongside the agency applicant.
32. What if there is a lack of trust between community-based organizations and local agencies?
SCAG has taken this comment into consideration and is prioritizing evaluation criteria to address and help foster meaningful working relationships between local governments and community-based organizations, supporting local agencies in developing community capacity, trust, and sustainable relationships.
33. Will there be an opportunity to provide a pre-proposal or pre-application materials? Will the application materials be required?
SCAG will work with interested applicants, as needed, to determine needed support and project feasibility through 1:1 coaching opportunities. To facilitate application development, SCAG staff will be available via office hours, and host Application webinars.
34. Will SCAG offer technical assistance to help applicants develop a proposal?
To facilitate application development, SCAG staff will be available via office hours, and shall host Application webinars to assist with project refinement. More information on office hours and Application webinars will be made available on the SCP Call 4 website.
35. Will SCAG offer technical assistance to awardees during the project?
SCAG staff will work with awardees to complete procurement and contracting. SCAG may serve as the administrative project manager, managing the contract and invoices.
36. What reporting process can an awardee anticipate?
Awarded applicants can anticipate submitting quarterly reports to align with SCAG’s Overall Work Plan reporting requirements.
37. Do applicants need to use evidence-based tools to substantiate what they want to do?
No. SCAG expects the projects to serve local needs; the methods used to measure or describe those needs do not need to be strictly quantitative, nor predetermined by SCAG. SCAG will work with and learn from applicants to understand the information available, especially where qualitative data and narrative is provided.
38. Do potential applicants need to pay a fee to receive advice?
No. There are no fees to seek technical assistance from SCAG.