Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Frequent Questions
- When are applications due?
- Who can apply for SGIA?
- What does EPA look for in applications?
- Is SGIA a grant?
- What kinds of projects do you select?
- How do I submit an application?
- Where can I find more information?
- How is the SGIA program different from the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program?
- Can a community apply for both Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) and Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities (Building Blocks)?
- How many SGIA applications did you receive in 2011?
- Can additional funds be added to the SGIA projects?
1. When are applications due?
Applications are accepted only for open solicitations and are due on the specific date noted in the Request for Letters of Intent (RFLI).
2. Who can apply for SGIA?
The applicant must be:
- a tribal, state, local, or regional government; or
- an incorporated nonprofit organization incorporated or domiciled in the United States that has a demonstrated partnership with a governmental agency. Applicants must be located in, and project activities must be conducted within, the United States, Puerto Rico, or a territory or possession of the U.S.
3. What does EPA look for in applications?
The RFLI will describe the evaluation criteria in detail. Briefly:
- The applicant must be eligible as described above.
- The community understands and supports the principles of smart growth. Applicants should describe actions that the community has taken to address the location and design of development, regardless of whether they have been successful. EPA is looking for communities that have already learned about the principles of smart growth and now want implementation assistance.
- The community must be facing a clear, development-related challenge, whether it involves growth pressures, attracting more development, or planning for the future, and must identify opportunities for changing the way it handles land use change.
- The community must have a specific, clearly defined project, and there must be a clear role for a team to assist with policy analysis or public participation.
- The community must be able to demonstrate how it anticipates using the results from the EPA-led team to implement changes locally.
- The community must form a diverse local team to work with the EPA-led expert team and to follow up on the technical assistance. The community itself must carry out the bulk of the work and must have the dedication and vision to succeed.
- Elected officials - mayors, county commissioners, city council members, state commissioners, etc. - must support this project and be committed to its success.
- Although this assistance will be free to the community, communities that can show local commitment through partnerships, such as local government staff time, support from local businesses, and other local resources, will have priority in the selection process.
4. Is SGIA a grant?
No. SGIA provides direct assistance through a federal contract. Selected communities will receive assistance in the form of a multi-day visit from a team of national experts organized by EPA and its federal partners to work with local leaders. EPA will provide this assistance through contractors, not as a grant. Team members will be nationally known experts in disciplines to be determined by the community's unique needs. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Transportation and EPA's regional offices will provide input and assistance to selected projects.
5. What kinds of projects do you select?
Applicant projects can range from analyzing policies (e.g., reviewing state and local codes, auditing policies, funding criteria, provision of resources), creating partnerships, and outreach to address specific issues (e.g., community visioning processes, charrettes, workgroups, strategic planning). Ideal projects have a local focus with direct applicability to a larger scale, like neighborhoods in a city or counties across a state. We seek cutting-edge issues to address – topics that require new research or application versus problems that have been commonly addressed. Applicants are also asked to note if they have received Partnership for Sustainable Community grants or technical assistance projects in the past, and to describe how the proposed project aligns with the Partnership principles and relates to past or ongoing grants or leverages Partnership-supported projects.
6. How do I submit an application?
Please follow the RFLI's instructions on how to submit an application. If you have questions, contact Abby Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org).
7. Where can I find more information?
8. How is the SGIA program different from the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program?
EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities (OSC) offers technical assistance that ranges from longer-term, in-depth assistance to more streamlined assistance for common development challenges. The SGIA program focuses on complex or cutting-edge issues and can take up to 18 months. These projects explore innovative ideas to overcome barriers that are preventing communities from getting the kind of development they want. At the other end of the spectrum is the Building Blocks program, which provides quick, targeted technical assistance to communities using a variety of tools that have demonstrated results and widespread application. Learn more about the types of technical assistance that OSC provides.
9. Can a community apply for both Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) and Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities (Building Blocks)?
Yes. Communities are eligible to apply for both programs. Applicants should consider the differences in focus between these programs – SGIA is meant for longer-term, cutting-edge work, while the Building Blocks program focuses on short-term assistance for a discrete issue. It is not expected that communities will apply for both programs related to the same issue; however, a community might address a complicated issue appropriate for SGIA and a more direct, streamlined issue for Building Blocks.
10. How many SGIA applications did you receive in 2011?
We received 53 applications for SGIA in 2011.
11. Can additional funds be added to the SGIA projects?
There is no required match from the community to supplement funds supplied by EPA. Communities are encouraged to seek out additional sources of funds if the project scope exceeds the EPA resources. Under certain circumstances, EPA program offices, federal agencies, or nonprofits might contribute additional funds to help support this work. These opportunities will be discussed once scopes of work are developed.