Strengthening Syringe Services Programs Notice of Funding Opportunity Number: CDC-RFA-PS22-2208

Index of Questions

General Information

What is the purpose of this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)?

This NOFO aims to increase access to harm reduction services for people who inject drugs (PWID) and reduce incidence of infectious diseases and other complications of injection drug use through two components: support a national network of SSPs and oversee implementation and use of an annual national survey of SSPs (Component 1), and support and strengthen implementation of SSPs in the United States, Territories and affiliated states, and tribal nations (Component 2).

What is the timeline for the implementation of each of the components?

  • For Component 1, the funded recipient is expected to build or expand a national network of SSPs. CDC will work with the funded recipient to develop a tailored timeline for implementation that considers any existing network, partnerships, or resources.
  • For Component 1, the funded recipient is expected to implement the existing, approved SSP survey within the first year of funding. The SSP survey will be carried over into each PS22-2208 award year. The survey can be revised prior to each year’s implementation.
  • For Component 2, CDC will work with the funded recipient to develop a tailored timeline for implementation that considers prior experience and existing systems for subcontracting to SSPs.

How will Technical Assistance be provided the awardees?

  • Please refer to the NOFO (see CDC Program Support to Awardees) for the description of technical assistance that CDC will provide to awardees.
  • Per the NOFO:
    • Technical Assistance: CDC can provide subject matter expertise on survey development and analysis, evaluation and performance measurements, and capacity building such as SSP implementation of expanded services. Technical assistance will also be available through the National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center (NHRTAC), which can develop proactive technical assistance in support of SSP implementation. CDC can also connect recipients and subrecipients to relevant federal, state, and local health departments, and other partners.
    • Information Sharing with Recipients: For Component 1, CDC will work with the recipient to finalize the survey instrument and ensure Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) requirements are met through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Recipients will also be connected with other internal and external partners working on relevant projects to support collaboration where possible.
  • For Component 1, please note that the SSP survey has been finalized for the first year of the NOFO; future changes to this survey after the first year will be a collaborative effort with CDC.

What are syringe services programs and what kinds of services do they offer?

Are people who use drugs intranasally included as a target population for this NOFO?

  • The focus of this NOFO is to support the health of people who use drugs, including people who use drugs intranasally or by other non-injection routes.

Award and Eligibility Information

Who is eligible for the NOFO?

  • This NOFO provides full and open competition without restriction

 How will awardees be selected?

  • Please refer to NOFO Review and Selection Process information for a detailed description about how awardees will be selected.
  • Per the NOFO:
    • Each component will be reviewed and scored separately for a possible 100 points per component. The overall score of each component will be used to determine award, contingent upon funding.

Can an organization apply for both components?

  • Yes. An organization can apply for one or both components. However, applicants are permitted to submit only one application. If you are applying for both components, one application should be submitted with two separate narratives, workplans, and budgets required.
  • Only one form SF424A will be required for submission. Section B of the SF424A will accommodate multiple budgets.

Why is CDC planning for 1 award for each component?

CDC is anticipating only 1 recipient for each component based on the following assumptions as outlined in the NOFO:

  • The Component 1 recipient may offer all required services, or the recipient may subcontract with one or more other organizations to offer the required services. The Component 1 recipient is responsible for maintaining broad, engaged collaboration with partner organizations throughout the funding period.
  • The Component 2 recipient is expected to offer on-going funding and project management to syringe services programs (SSPs) throughout the full period of performance.

Will there be consistent funding across all 5 years of the cooperative agreement?

  • Availability of funding may fluctuate each year over the course of the cooperative agreement. CDC is committed to ensuring continuity of operations over the funded period and will work with the funded recipient to adjust workplans as necessary if funding is inconsistent.

Are there any selection preferences that will be applied to the process?

  • Please refer to the NOFO for information on Phase II Review.
  • Per the NOFO:
    • Applications will be funded in order by score determined by the review panel. If an organization applies for both components, each component will be scored separately, and funding decisions will depend on score order for each component.

If an application covers both components is it possible to be awarded just one?

  • Applicants can apply for both components, but each component should be submitted as separate projects and will be evaluated separately.

Can an individual SSP apply for Component 2?

  • While this NOFO offers open and unrestricted competition, the applicant must demonstrate capacity to  distribute funding to support and strengthen implementation of SSPs, including in communities with the highest need. Per the NOFO scoring criteria, the score for an applicant’s organizational capacity to implement the approach will be partly determined by the extent to which the applicant documents national reach, accomplishments in support of the welfare of PWID and SSPs, and demonstrated ability to lead and support a project that is national in scope.

Can the applicant be a for-profit organization?

  • This NOFO is open competition. Please refer to the Eligibility Information section of the NOFO.

Will research activities be funded through this NOFO?

Will the size of the proposed budget in an application for Component 1 or Component 2 be used to score that NOFO application?

  • Applications will be evaluated based on published criteria in the NOFO. The size of the budget does not contribute to the application score for either Component 1 or Component 2. Please refer to the Review and Selection Process section of the NOFO.

Application Submission

 

Please clarify the page limits and formatting for the Project Narrative/Work Plan.

  • This NOFO consists of two components that will be scored separately and implemented independently by the funded recipient(s). For applicants submitting applications for Component 1 and Component 2, each component should be submitted with separate Project Narratives, Work Plans, and Budgets, totaling 15 pages per component.
  • Please refer to the Project Narrative/Work Plan section in the NOFO for information on formatting.
  • Page limits include Work Plan; content beyond specified limits may not be reviewed.
  • Text should be single spaced, 12-point font; all pages should be numbered and have 1-inch margins.

Is a budget narrative required for each year of the project as a part of the application submission?

  • Using the SF424A, an itemized budget is required for the first year of funding, and budget estimates for future funding periods are also expected at the time of application (May 2, 2022 by 11:59PM EDT). An SF424A and budget narrative will be required each year to include an updated itemized budget and budget estimates for remaining funding periods.

Are there specific questions that should be addressed in the Project Narrative?

  • The Project Narrative must include all of the following headings (including subheadings): Background, Approach, Applicant Evaluation and Performance Measurement Plan, Organizational Capacity of Applicant to Implement the Approach, and Work Plan.
  • Please refer to the Project Narrative section in the NOFO for additional information.

Budget Considerations

Where do I find guidance on budget preparation?

Can an applicant fund sub-contractors?

  • Applicants must follow the CDC Budget Preparation Guidelinespdf icon when developing their budget narrative. The applicant must submit the following information to CDC for each contract when establishing a third-party contract to perform program activities:
    1. Name of Contractor: Identify the name of the proposed contractor and indicate whether the contract is with an institution or organization.
    2. Method of Selection: State whether the contract is a sole source or competitive bid. If an organization is the sole source for the contract, include an explanation as to why this institution is the only one able to perform contract services.
    3. Period of Performance: Specify the beginning and ending dates of the contract.
    4. Scope of Work: Describe the specific services/tasks to be performed by the contractor and relate them to the accomplishment of program objectives. Deliverables should be clearly defined.
    5. Method of Accountability: Describe how the progress and performance of the contactor will be monitored during and on close of the contract period. Identify who will be responsible for supervising the contract.
    6. Itemized Budget and Justification: Provide an itemized budget with appropriate justification. If applicable, include any indirect cost paid under the contract and the indirect cost rate used.

Can applicants include a budget for travel to meetings and/or conferences?

  • Applicants may budget for travel to relevant meetings that are planned as in-person. Contingency plans should be noted in the budget justification for travel to in-person meetings that may be cancelled or converted to virtual only later due to COVID-19 or other circumstances. Budget will not be approved for travel to meetings that have announced cancellation or plans to meet virtually. Funded recipients must provide a revised budget within a timeframe specified in the Notice of Award.

For Component 2, will grants to SSPs have to be cost reimbursable or could they be low threshold/fixed cost?

  • Funding mechanism will be determined by funded recipient(s). Applicants should follow CDC budget guidelines.

Does CDC expect to have access to the data management system used by the applicant for grantee reporting?

  • No. A process will be established for the recipient to report evaluation measures to CDC but this process will not require CDC access to the applicant’s data management system.

Is there a cap on Facilities & Administrative (F&A)/indirect rate that can be used?

  • No, there is no cap.

Are funds from the CDC for this award advanced and not reimbursement-based?

  • Advancement vs. reimbursement will be determined after the award.

Strategies and Activities

Will the recipient(s) have any restrictions on the allowable activities of sub-recipients?

  • It is expected that this program will support SSP implementation. Recipients that use federal funding for SSPs must adhere to federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and other requirements related to such programs or services. Please visit https://www.cdc.gov/ssp/ssp-funding.html for comprehensive information and FAQs specific to federal funding to SSPs.

What data are SSPs required to report?

  • See “CDC Evaluation and Performance Strategy” for further details on measures the recipient will be required to report to CDC in aggregate. For Component 2, only aggregate SSP data will be requested from the recipient.

Would the Component 2 recipient need to require that sub-grantees meet certain requirements such as obtaining determination of need letters?

I understand that there will only be one award for each component. However, do you have an expectation of how many subrecipients should be funded to carry out the services nationwide particularly in Component 2?

  • There is no specific limit on the number of subrecipients for each component. For Component 2, the number will likely depend on the funding amount and can be decided iteratively.

Is there a mechanism to assure equitable distribution of Component 2 funds regionally?

  • In consultation with CDC, the Component 2 recipient will identify and prioritize geographic regions of the United States, Territories, and Tribal Nations experiencing disproportionately high rates of viral hepatitis and HIV and other consequences of injection drug use, and develop strategies to target a portion of the funding towards communities with the highest need.

Is there an expectation from the CDC project team that the funded SSP subrecipients are the same throughout the 5 years of this project?

  • Continuity of funding to individual SSPs would be preferrable but can be determined in collaboration with CDC and is subject to the availability of funds for each fiscal year.

Can a portion of funds be used by the Component 2 recipient for targeted technical assistance to SSP subrecipients?

  • The intent of this NOFO is for funds to be distributed by the Component 2 recipients to SSP subrecipients and optimize existing technical assistance mechanisms in collaboration with CDC. Targeted TA is available to SSP subrecipients at no cost from CDC’s National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center (NHRTAC).
  • For additional information on the NHRTAC, please visit https://harmreductionhelp.cdc.gov/.

How can an individual SSP access funds that Component 2 recipients will be distributing?

  • The Component 2 recipient is expected to develop an easily accessible funding mechanism and communication plan in conjunction with CDC to advertise the opportunity for funding individual SSPs.