The following are answers to questions that were asked during the Pathways Forward Challenge informational webinar or submitted via e-mail. This page may be updated as additional questions are received.

Updated March 26, 2019


Is there a margin requirement in addition to the font and type size? Also, do attachments count as part of the ten page limit? For example, if I were to put charts and tables on a separate page to be referenced while reading the narrative, would that still be considered part of the written portion? I don't want to cut some fairly critical data.

I certainly empathize with your dilemma, and we recognize that we are asking communities to communicate lots of information and describe big ideas using relatively few words. The purpose of the page limit is to both challenge communities to communicate their ideas succinctly, but also to limit the amount of time reviewers need to thoughtfully consider each proposal. Evaluation fatigue is not helpful for anyone!

To answer your specific questions, please allow adequate margins for successful printing and readability. I would suggest that your margins be at least .4 inches. You may include one additional page that features supporting charts or graphs to be referenced while reading the written portion of your proposal, but we will not read any narrative that extends beyond the 10 pages.

Making meaningful improvements in the lives of people experiencing homelessness in 2 ½ years with the allocated financial award seems incredibly challenging for our community. Tell me more about your expectations for communities.

Shifting systems and increasing employment and income for people experiencing homelessness is an ambitious task. This is where the “challenge” of the Pathways Forward Challenge comes in. We are looking to select communities that are willing to set bold goals relative to the employment and income outcomes they seek on behalf of homeless jobseekers in their communities. Bold goals are ambitious, yet believable, and result in meaningful increases in employment and income for homeless jobseekers (page 4 of RFP Info Packet).

Through our Connections Project work, we have seen how technical assistance, peer learning, a national platform, and some seed money can catalyze systems change activities that would not have otherwise been possible. We believe that if stakeholders in communities set bold goals that reflect the outcomes they want to see for people experiencing homelessness, they can leverage the resources provided through the Pathways Forward Challenge to make strides toward these outcomes. In addition, we have seen that financial awards can bring to the table local philanthropy, opening doors to additional funding opportunities. Finally, we expect that communities will encounter roadblocks along the way and acknowledge that navigating these challenges is an essential part of success.


How exactly do you define the target population?

Communities selected to participate in the Pathways Forward Challenge will develop systems change strategies that increase employment and income for the significant number of people experiencing homelessness who are not likely to receive housing through the homeless service system due to long wait lists, lack of housing stock, or low vulnerability scores. Improving systems connections to employment for this population is critical to increasing the efficiency and success of the homeless service system over time and improving outcomes for all people experiencing homelessness (page 3 of RFP Info Packet). How exactly you define this target population is up to your community and will likely vary from community to community based on the particular assessment tools used, housing resources available, and other factors.

Do people in the target population also have to fit HUD’s definition (or another definition) of homelessness?

Rather than prescribe strict guidelines around how communities identify who falls in this group and who doesn’t, we want stakeholders to demonstrate how their systems change ideas will address the critical systems gap by improving pathways to employment and income support for the significant number of people experiencing homelessness who are not likely to receive housing through the homeless services system. (If your systems change idea also increases employment for people who have been matched with housing, this does not “disqualify” your idea from consideration for the Pathways Forward Challenge.) In addition, your systems change idea may focus on a subpopulation within the target population (e.g., youth, single adults, or families), depending on the data and information you gather from your community.

Tell me more about how NCEH will support communities in applying a racial equity lens.

We know that people of color—particularly Black and Native Americans—are overrepresented among people experiencing homelessness. Because the impact of structural racism is pervasive, public systems that do not explicitly commit to racial equity, will de facto produce inequitable outcomes. In order to increase employment and income among all homeless jobseekers, therefore, selected Pathways Forward communities will commit to applying a racial equity lens to the development of their systems change ideas, setting of goals, and measurement of outcomes (page 3 of RFP Info Packet). We will, for example, expect and support communities collect data on income and employment increases that is disaggregated by race/ethnicity in order to track how systems changes are being experienced and will provide support to this end, as needed.

We will also provide resources and opportunities for growth and learning on how to support racial equity throughout the duration of the project period. Our intention is to provide resources from a range of perspectives to support efforts to achieve racially equitable outcomes. We will bring in experts who can offer wisdom, guidance, tools, and partner with us in providing technical assistance around race equity and its intersection with homelessness as it relates to systems change work.

Tell me more about what is involved with the external evaluation.

Selected Pathways Forward communities commit to participating in an external evaluation (page 7 of RFP Info Packet) focused on evaluating the role and impact of systems change in supporting pathways to employment and income for homeless jobseekers. The external evaluation is intended to support ongoing learning in order to inform and improve future systems change efforts (page 4 of RFP Info Packet).

NCEH will schedule phone or video chat meetings with selected communities and the external evaluator in order to finalize research questions and work plans. We expect selected communities to assist the external evaluator in addressing the agreed upon research questions and goals. This may involve connecting the evaluator to stakeholders, assisting in accessing data, or participating in interviews with the evaluator via phone, video conferencing, or in-person.