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CORE Investments Set Aside, Safety Net Services

Solicitation for Letter of Interest #2018HSD05

Opens March 16, 2018 and closed at 5:00 p.m. on April 9, 2018.

The County of Santa Cruz Human Services Department invites Letters of Interest (LOI) from community based organizations to provide services and/or related materials that address emerging needs or otherwise unmet safety net needs in FY 2018-19.

Applications may be for $1,000 to $35,000 and it is anticipated that the County will award approximately $150,000 in total to selected respondents to this LOI.

Submit proposals no later than 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) on April 9, 2018 to:

County of Santa Cruz Human Services Department
Centralized Contracting Unit, Solicitation #2018HSD05
1000 Emeline Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Contact Information

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CORE Investments Set Aside Solicitation for LOI

Questions and Answers New! April 3, 2018

Find questions received and answers to those questions below.

Eligibility and Application Questions

  1. NEW. It has been our understanding that an agency may submit a single application for multiple programs. Based on the March 27, 2018 Questions and Answers, it appears that HSD takes the position that regardless of the value of given programs, their effectiveness and the demonstrated need, an agency will be maxed out at 35k? Can you confirm? Respectfully, we believe this approach will harm multi-service agencies or collaboratives with diverse impact.
    1. Yes, the Set Aside Solicitation for Letters of Interest approved by the Board of Supervisors on March 13, 2018 allows for the submission of only one application per agency. An agency may include more than one program in the application so long as it conforms to the application page limits, and requests between $1,000 and $35,000.
  2. We are currently a CORE Investments funding recipient for the three-year funding period. Do we need to submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) application at this point to keep or CORE Investments funding.
    1. No, you do not need to submit a Set Aside LOI to maintain your three-year CORE Investments funding. The Set Aside funds are a separate allocation intended to be available annually for programs that address emerging or otherwise unmet safety net needs.
  3. This will be my first time drafting an LOI for my organization. Is there a preferred format or template you could share?
    1. No, there is not a template. Details on format, such as page length, may be found on Page 2 of the Solicitation under Application Instructions.
  4. Unfortunately I cannot attend your Q&A session on March 22. I wanted to confirm that agencies that received CORE city/county funding can still apply for the "Set Aside Funding".
    1. Yes agencies that currently have a CORE Investments city or county contract may apply for Set Aside funds for a program that address new or emerging or otherwise unmet safety net needs.
  5. If our entity is a new program operating under a larger umbrella organization, can the new organization apply for Set Aside funding separately from the umbrella organization?
    1. No, however the umbrella organization can include more than one program in its application, as long as the umbrella organization submits only one application within the required page limits, requesting between $1,000 and $35,000.
  6. Are the Set Aside funds available to both organizations that did receive CORE funding and those who did not?
    1. Yes, agencies that do and do not receive CORE Investment funding may apply for Set Aside funding.
  7. Is this the full application for safety net funding? Is there a supplemental application that will be required after the Set Aside LOI is submitted?
    1. Yes the response to the Letter of Interest is the full application. Unlike other solicitations where the LOI is the first step in a two step application process, the LOI will be the actual application.
  8. Can we see how CORE Investments funding was allocated for FY17-18?
    1. Yes, that is publically available. The Board of Supervisors approved the CORE Investments funding recommendation in May, 2017.  Please link to item 60 on the Board’s May 16, 2017 agenda, at
  9. Will an agency that now receives Set Aside funding be able to submit a new application for Set Aside funding that proposes a program for the same emerging or unmet need that it proposed last year?
    1. Yes, an agency that is a FY17-18 recipient of Set Aside funding may apply for FY18-19 Set Aside funds. It is up to the applicant to decide what emerging or unmet need the proposal will address. See note on page 1 of the Solicitation that “current receipt of Set Aside funds may be referenced (in the application), but will be neutral scoring factor.”
  10. Does a proposed service need to be “unique” in order meet an emerging or unmet need?
    1. No, the service to address the emerging or unmet safety net need does not need to be unique. An emerging need is loosely defined as a safety net need that has largely arisen in the past 2-3 years. Unmet need is one that can reasonably be considered a need and there are not other services meeting this need.
  11. Is it okay to have a one page cover letter? Is there a typical length for that?
    1. The solicitation calls for an application of up to three pages. As stated on page 2 of the Solicitation, the required elements are: the contact information contact information; a needs and target population description (no more than ½ page); a project objective and description; (no more than 1 page); qualifications (no more that ½ page), and budget (1 page). The full application should be no more than 3 pages. The required contact information may be submitted on a separate page (that will not be counted as a page with respect to the 3 page application limit) or in the body of the application.
  12. Is the LOI required to be submitted in a specific formant such as WORD or pdf? Or Excel spreadsheet?
    1. No, the Solicitation does not specify a format for submitting the LOI application. Applicants may use either Word or pdf. Using Excel for the budget is acceptable as well.
  13. If one can assert that no data is available in sub-populations, will that pull up score? If information is not available for the proposal target population, how do we deal with the fact that we do not have data to put in the application?
    1. It is up to the applicant how the emerging or unmet need is described and supported. The need may be supported by a description of the need with or without data. Please refer to the evaluation criteria on page 1 of the Solicitation for how proposals will be scored.
  14. For agencies that are currently CORE Investment contractors, will proposals be preferred that enhance the current CORE program or one that was not fully funded by CORE?
    1. No. the Solicitation does not require a relationship to a CORE funded program. Set Aside funds may be used to address emerging or unmet safety net needs. (See question 9 above.)
  15. Does receiving this one-year Set Aside funding preclude a program from getting other funding from HSD or other departments of the County of Santa Cruz?
    1. No.
  16. If we have 2 programs, can we apply for both? If so, do we need to have a budget for both?
    1. An agency with multiple programs may include more than one program in the application, as long as the agency submits only one application within the required page limits, requesting between $1,000 and $35,000.
  17. Is there any limitation for how funding can be applied? Are there funding restrictions? For instance, can funding be used for staffing?
    1. The solicitation does not specify how the requested funding may be used so long as it is used to implement services or materials that address an emerging or unmet need.
  18. Can attachments be added to the application?
    1. The Solicitation specifies an application of no more than three pages and does not require attachments. (See Question 10 above.) The application review will focus on the first three pages.


  1. If an agency received Set Aside funds in FY17-18, can the same emerging or unmet safety net need(s) be applied for again or must another emerging or unmet need be applied for in FY18-19? Or can a related aspect of a previously funded program be proposed in FY18-19?
    1. Yes, the Solicitation does not preclude an application that addresses the same or related emerging or unmet need that that was proposed in FY17-18. It is up to your agency to choose and describe the emerging or unmet need it wishes to apply for. (See Question 9 above.)
  2. Should the budget include the full program amount if it is more than the amount requested in the application?
    1. There is no requirement to include the total program costs in the budget, beyond the amount that is requested in the Set Aside Application. However, the Solicitation does not preclude an applicant from including the additional budget information.
  3. Can we include administrative costs or indirect costs in the Set Aside application? How detailed does the budget need to be?
    1. The Set Aside Solicitation including the budget is designed to be simple and straightforward with minimal requirements. The LOI application does not require the full cost of the program and as stated in Question 9 above, the LOI also does not preclude the information. Nor does the Solicitation specify whether an indirect charge (in any amount) is allowed or precluded. The only requirement of the budget is that if the agency is applying for multiple items, that the budget include separate line items detailing the different parts of the program (for instance staffing, materials, travel, etc.).
  4. Is the budget one page?
    1. Yes, budget should be on its own separate page.