The RFP states that you will not fund direct services. Would you provide more clarity on what the financial award can be used for?

In our experience, the lion’s share of this funding has been used to dedicate staff time advancing systems change, convening costs, and training. Funds may be used to support the involvement of people with lived experience through transportation support or stipends. The financial award, in conjunction with technical assistance from our team and other experts, peer learning opportunities, and connection to a national movement and platform can be a powerful catalyst for change.

Tell me more about the scoring criteria and process.

Our panel of reviewers will be looking for the following elements to be reflected in Pathways Forward Challenge proposals (page 5 of RFP Info Packet).

  • how your proposed ideas reflect systems change ideas. We will not fund direct services or programmatic changes.

  • an understanding of how your proposed ideas will increase employment and income for your target population of homeless jobseekers.

  • an understanding of how your proposed ideas will result in more racially equitable outcomes for the target population.

  • how your proposed ideas were developed with the input of people with lived experience of homelessness.

  • the ability of your team and community to sustain progress toward bold goals throughout the project period. We will be looking for communities that have 1) the right combination of team members and partners on board (including stakeholders from homeless service and workforce systems), 2) the potential to support successful collaboration among team members and partners, and 3) the potential to bring in-kind and/or direct financial resources to bear on the project.

Each question and prompt included in the RFP is intended to elicit information that will inform reviewers about the five dimensions/characteristics of your community and proposed ideas. Our panel of reviewers will include people with a range of lived and professional experiences around homelessness, access to employment for people facing barriers to employment, and systems change and collaboration.

Tell me more about the “Beyond the Written Word” submission. How will it play into the scoring/selection process?

The purpose of the Beyond the Written Word submissions is to deepen our understanding of your community and proposed systems change ideas. We will not be scoring the technical quality of the submission, but rather looking for how it illuminates aspects of your community and ideas in relation to the scoring criteria outlined above.

How do you define "community?"  What size communities are you targeting for the Pathways Forward Challenge?

Your community will define the target geography for your ideas. We know that various public systems in communities have geographic boundaries or service areas that do not necessarily align with each other. We are looking to see that the target geography makes sense given your proposed ideas and the make-up of your Pathways Forward team. Additionally, you will need to demonstrate that your community can feasibly collect and report data that measures progress toward your goals within the target geography.

Can former Connections Project communities apply for the Pathways Forward Challenge?

Former Connections Project communities are welcome to apply for the Pathways Forward Challenge. These communities will be asked to clearly demonstrate how their proposed ideas for the Pathways Forward Challenge differ from the Connections Project ideas or build upon Connections Project work in new or critical ways. 

The RFP Info Packet says the financial awards will be between $75k-$100k over the project period. Tell me more about how financial awards are determined and distributed.

Once selected, NCEH will work with communities to determine financial awards based on a number of factors including the particular needs of each community, nature of specific project elements, and additional in-kind and direct resources available to support the project.

If we decide not to apply, or we are not selected, how else can we engage?

Great question!  Moving the needle on increasing employment and income among people experiencing homelessness requires a range of strategies and approaches. Place-based projects like the Pathways Forward Challenge are only one piece of the work. NCEH exists to support various types of communities with different systems needs, leadership structures, policy contexts, availability of resources, or geographic locations.

If your community chooses not to apply for the Pathways Forward Challenge or is not selected, we encourage you to follow NCEH communications in order to learn about forthcoming opportunities to deepen your community’s involvement in the movement of stakeholders committed to advancing employment and income in preventing and ending homelessness. In addition, your community can access publications, webinars, toolkits, and other resources available at no cost on the Heartland Alliance National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity website or reach out to our Field Building team for more customized support.