How is the RFP going to change the way agencies deliver services and run programs?  What is different? 

There are five main ways in which the RFP will be different for providers seeking city funding:

1) Focus on Housing: The RFP asks applicants to specifically identify how they contribute to moving people into permanent housing.  A 2015 Homeless Investment Analysis showed that current City investments should contribute to a cohesive and comprehensive continuum of strategies designed to end people's homelessness and move them into housing.

2) Alignment to system-wide standard performance targets: King County, United Way of King County, and the City have agreed upon performance targets for homeless investments.   

  • Exits rates to permanent housing (Number of days in a particular program);        
  • Average length of stay in shelters;         
  • Entries from homelessness;         
  • Returns rates to homelessness; and      
  • Utilization rate of shelter beds.  

3) Clear racial equity goals:  Agencies applying for HSD funding through this RFP must demonstrate the commitment and ability to meet racial equity targets identified in the RFP's Theory of Change (see RFP document) by delivering services that are person-centered, culturally competent, responsive, relevant, and accessible.  

4) Incentive for applications reflecting collaboration: HSD encourages partnerships and collaborations among providers that contribute to increasing access to services (expanding hours, adding locations, etc.), strengthening culturally competent services, and improving housing outcomes. Applications that support partnership will receive credit in the scoring process.  

5) One RFP and RFP process: A single HSD RFP application process for homeless investments allows providers to spend less time on preparing multiple and disparate funding applications and processes.  Further, because the funders can access standardized performance data directly from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) database, providers have less administrative burden in reporting. 

How will this RFP address racial disparities?

In conjunction with the Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), which is a citywide effort to end institutionalized racism and race-based inequities in Seattle, HSD has developed the RFP to reflect a commitment to funding culturally-responsive services that create positive outcomes. Agencies applying for HSD funding through this RFP must demonstrate their ability to institute these principles in delivering services that are person-centered, culturally competent, responsive, relevant, and accessible. 

In keeping with this RFP's intent to increase movement to permanent housing, HSD reviewed recent data on "exits from homelessness" for projects by race. This showed that American Indian/Alaskan Native households had the highest disparity of exiting homeless assistance programs to permanent housing. It also showed that Black/African American households had the highest disparity of becoming homeless. This analysis helped HSD determine racial equity goals for access to permanent housing. Based on this information, the racial equity goals for the RFP are to:

  • Increase American Indian/Alaskan Native households' exits to permanent housing to a rate that is comparable to other races;     
  • Increase the rate at which Black/African American households maintain permanent housing through a homelessness prevention project, or are diverted from homelessness.

Why is HSD interested in Rapid Re-Housing? Will Transitional Housing go away?

National research on Rapid Re-Housing shows that outcomes for Rapid Re-Housing projects are similar to or often better than outcomes for Transitional Housing projects; and, the cost of Transitional Housing is considerably greater.  

Local providers state that Rapid Rehousing is working well for individuals and families. Overall, 2016 data results for Seattle/King County Rapid Re-Housing programs show 68% of people exit Rapid Re-Housing to permanent housing and have less than a 3% rate of returning to homelessness services.  The national average for "returns to homelessness" is 25% for rapid rehousing. In 2016, Transitional Housing results show that 58% of people exited to permanent housing , with a less than 3% rate of returning to homelessness.   

In King County, Transitional Housing projects exited 59% of participants to permanent housing in the first quarter of 2017. Rapid Re-Housing projects exited 65% of participants to permanent housing in the same time period.  

The recommendations of the Focus Strategies report and the Barbara Poppe report were to eliminate low and moderate performing Transitional Housing projects and invest in higher performing, lower cost interventions. HSD does not intend to eliminate all Transitional Housing projects (or any other housing strategy) through the Homeless Investments RFP; rather, HSD intends to shift resources to projects that have the greatest impact.   

How will data be used to measure past performance, especially if data isn't available?

For the past year, housing providers funded by King County, United Way of King County, the City of Seattle, and All Home (the area Continuum of Care Provider) have been preparing for the performance system standards outlined in the RFP.  Technical Assistance has been available, and agencies have had a chance to use data to adjust programs and data collection efforts.  Furthermore, because the funders have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, many agencies have been using standardized data for performance reporting and evaluation with these other funders.

When HSD rates completed RFP applications, 40% of scores for Transitional Housing, Rapid Re-Housing, Permanent Supportive Housing, and Emergency Shelter will be based on HMIS data for the January 1 -June 30, 2017 period. Data will be pulled directly from the Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS) database beginning August 1, which providers populate.

If a project is new to the funding process, and therefore, doesn't have the same data as other organizations or does not have data on that particular program type, the rating panel will review their application and budget, as well as evaluate a supplemental application that is available that includes questions about how they intend to collect data and achieve performance targets.

Is HSD Going to a Pay-for-Performance Model?

The RFP outlines performance expectations for 2018 contracts, which includes the system-wide performance standards used for rating as well as HSD performance targets for other types of projects such as diversion, homelessness prevention, and outreach and engagement. Transitional Housing, Rapid Re-Housing, Permanent Supportive Housing, and Emergency Shelter projects will, for the first time, have a portion of their contract (12%) linked to performance pay.

How much is available and what are the source of funds?

Approximately $30 million is available through this Request for Proposal from the following sources:

Fund Sources RFP Amount in millions
HSD General Fund $24.8
CDBG (Community Development Block Grant-(Federal) $3.0
ESG (Emergency Solutions Grant-(Federal) $0.8
City of Seattle Housing Levy Fund $1.7
Total $30.3


The $30 million included in the RFP is part of HSD's annual base budget which is $50 million for 2017.  The remaining $20 million is going to services and programs that were recently awarded as part of a competitive bidding process (e.g. Navigation Center) or included in a separate funding cycle (including some federal funds) and are not be included in this RFP.

What are the project areas and how much funding is available for each area?

Project Area Available Funding
Diversion   Up to $4M
Emergency Services (Day and Overnight Shelter, Day Center, Hygiene Services)  Up to $16M
Homelessness Prevention   Up to $3M
Outreach and Engagement    Up to $4.5M
Permanent Supportive Housing   Up to $3M
Rapid Re-Housing   Up to $8M
Transitional Housing Up to $2M

Up to $500,000

What's the plan to address vehicles residency?

The 2017 Count Us In report indicated that there are at least 2,314 people living in vehicles in King County. Many of those vehicles were found throughout Seattle. Outreach and Engagement projects funded through the Homeless Investments RFP will be able to perform targeted outreach to people living in vehicles as part of broader outreach efforts. 

How will smaller organizations be able to compete?   

Smaller, community-based organizations will have access to free technical assistance through the Nonprofit Assistance Center (NAC), a key partner on this RFP. NAC will not write the grant for applicants but can provide assistance in understanding the expectations of the RFP Guidelines and Instructions and how to complete the applications, thinking through proposal development ideas, and reviewing grant proposal drafts. No content advising will be given.

For smaller organizations who wish to apply but do not believe they have the infrastructure to contract funds, HSD encourages partnerships and collaborations between smaller and larger organizations that contribute to increasing access to services (expanding hours, adding locations, etc.), strengthening culturally competent services, and improving housing outcomes. For smaller organizations who do not believe they have the infrastructure to contract funds, they may also wish to partner with a larger organization for fiscal sponsorship.  

HSD is particularly interested in partnerships that are jointly designed and formalized through subcontract arrangements.   

Who reviews applications and recommends funding?

Rating Committee panels consisting of a cross-section of City of Seattle staff, other public and private funders' staff, and people with lived homeless experience will review applications and make recommendations. The HSD Director will make the final award decisions and review appeals.

When are the information sessions for prospective applicants?

HSD willhost three information sessions for prospective applicants.  These information sessions are:     

  • Thursday, July 6 from 1:30-3:30 pm
    • Lake City Public Library, 12501 28th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98125        
  • Monday, July 10 from 1:30-3:30 pm
    • Douglass-Truth Public Library, 2300 E Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98122        
  • Monday, July 17 from 10:30 am -12:30 pm
    • Columbia City Public Library, 4721 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118  

Are providers required to participate in Coordinated Entry for All?

Coordinated Entry for All (CEA) is a system to ensure that all people experiencing a housing crisis have fair and equal access to housing assistance, and are quickly identified, assessed for, and connected to housing and homeless assistance based on their strengths and needs. Participation in King County's CEA system is required during the contract period.

Participation in CEA includes:

  • Using CEA to fill housing vacancies, unless an exception is granted in accordance with the CEA Standard Operations Manual;        
  • Ensuring new projects are accurately set up in HMIS;        
  • Coordinating with CEA to ensure effective, person-centered services;         
  • Participation in Impact Team/By-Name List (BNL) work; and        
  • Participation with service providers, funders, consumers and other stakeholders in CEA continuous improvement efforts