May 20, 2009

Recovery Act Funding Opportunities for Nonprofits: Housing and Community Development & Health and Social Services

7 min

In order to assist those impacted by the recession and minimize reductions in essential services, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) will fund hundreds of programs, many of which support traditionally “charitable” purposes. As part of that endeavor, the Recovery Act includes a number of grant opportunities that nonprofits may pursue to support their activities and serve their communities. These opportunities — whether in the form of funds to be awarded directly by federal agencies or formula and block grant funds that will be sub-awarded by the states — should not be overlooked by nonprofits whose activities further the various federal programs and purposes the Recovery Act aims to support. This alert highlights certain Recovery Act funding opportunities related to housing, community development, health and social services programs, and outlines how nonprofits can pursue these opportunities.

I. Which Recovery Act Programs Present Potential Funding Opportunities?

Listed below are select major Recovery Act programs that focus on providing assistance and services relating to housing, community development, health and social services that your organization may wish to consider. This list does not purport to be a comprehensive list of all funding opportunities under the Recovery Act that are or may be relevant to all of the different types of nonprofits whose activities or purposes fall within these broad categories.

Housing & Community Development
Mitigating the Effects of Foreclosure and Preventing Community Decline

HOME Investment Partnerships Block Grant Program - $2.25 billion

  • Description: Funding for capital investment by state housing finance agencies, in partnership with community-based organizations, to acquire, construct and rehabilitate affordable housing projects that rely on Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Also known as the Tax Credit Assistance Program (T-CAP).
  • Formula allocation: To state housing credit allocation agencies, which will award funds competitively to and give priority to housing projects that can begin construction immediately.

Community Development Block Grant Program - $1.0 billion

  • Description: Supports a wide range of activities intended to develop viable communities by providing decent affordable housing and suitable living environments, and by expanding economic opportunities, primarily for persons of low and moderate income.
  • Formula allocation: To states and local government.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program - $2.0 billion

  • Description: Emergency assistance to address home foreclosure and abandonment, including redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes.
  • Allocation: Competitive grants to nonprofits and consortia of nonprofits, cities and states (all of which may submit proposals in partnership with for-profit entities).

Homelessness Prevention Fund - $1.5 billion

  • Description: Supports financial assistance and services to individuals and families to avoid or escape homelessness, including housing relocation and stabilization services; short- or long-term rental assistance; and other homeless prevention and rapid re-housing activities.
  • Formula allocation: To metropolitan cities, urban counties and states for distribution to local governments and private nonprofit organizations.

Health & Social Services
Children and Community Support Services & Health Care Services

Child Care and Development Fund - $2.0 billion

  • Description: Expand provision of subsidized services to additional children and families facing difficult economic circumstances and for investments to improve the quality of child care to support the health and well-being of children.
  • Formula allocation: To states.

Early Head Start - $1.1 billion

  • Description: Funding to expand enrollment of additional children and create new teaching and other positions within Early Head Start programs, which provide child and family development services for low-income families with infants and toddlers ages birth to three years and pregnant women.
  • Allocation: Competitive grants to public or private nonprofits, including faith-based organizations, and for-profit organizations.

Community Services Block Grant Program - $1.0 billion

  • Description: Funding for local community organizations to provide services for low-income families hurt by the economic crisis, such as housing and credit counseling, job skills training and placement, housing assistance, and nutrition assistance.
  • Formula allocation: To states and federal and state-recognized Indian Tribes and tribal organizations, which must pass through 99% of their fund allocation to Community Action Agencies.

Nonprofit Organizations Capacity Building Grant Program - $50 million

  • Description: Expand the delivery of social services to individuals and communities affected by the economic downturn.
  • Allocation: Competitive grants to nonprofits.

Community Health Centers  - $500 million

  • Description: To serve more patients, stimulate new jobs, and meet the significant increase in demand for primary health care services among the Nation's uninsured and underserved populations.
  • Allocation: Competitive grants to federally qualified health centers. ($338 million has already been awarded.)

Prevention and Wellness Program - $1.0 billion

  • Description: To carry out evidence-based clinical and community-based prevention and wellness strategies and activities to implement healthcare associated infections reduction strategies.
  • Allocation: $700 million to be determined by HHS. ($300 million for Immunization Grant Program has been transferred to the CDC.)

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children - $500 million

  • Description: Additional support to provide nutritious supplemental foods, nutrition education, and health and social services referrals at no charge to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women; and infants and children up to the age of 5 years.
  • Allocation: To states, which administer program through local agencies and clinics.

Senior Nutrition Programs - $100 million

  • Description: To provide community-based services and critical Older American Act services, including home delivered meals.
  • Allocation: To states, which will award the funds to organizations that provide nutrition services in their communities.

Emergency Food and Shelter Program - $100 million

  • Description: Supplement local programs for emergency food and shelter services.
  • Allocation: Grants to local nonprofits and faith-based organizations chosen by local boards in qualifying jurisdictions.

II. How Are Recovery Act Funds Being Distributed?

Recovery Act funds are being distributed through a myriad of departments and agencies on the federal, state and local levels. As such, the process and timelines associated with applying for stimulus money generally depends on the federal agency and the specific federal program being funded. The federal government has commenced awarding Recovery Act funds, which include about $370 billion in stimulus funds through formula and block grants to the states; $85 billion through competitive grants; and between $60-65 billion through direct contracts. In every case, federal agencies are moving rapidly to implement their responsibilities under the Recovery Act in order to meet compressed statutory deadlines for obligating and disbursing the federal stimulus funds. 

III. What Is the Process for Pursuing Recovery Act Funds?

There are a number of steps that organizations can take now to position themselves to apply for Recovery Act funds. Many of these steps will be required by, or be a necessary part of, any federal grant application [1]:

  • Obtain and/or update a Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number.
  • Register for a Central Contractor Registration (CCR) number.
  • Complete certain security-related steps (designed to protect the privacy of your organization’s submissions to federal agencies).
  • Begin compiling application information now so that grant forms can be completed and submitted quickly.

Due to the substantial interest in participating in Recovery Act programs and the deadlines for distributing the stimulus funds, nonprofits interested in taking advantage of stimulus funding should move quickly. We recommend completing the preliminary steps outlined above as soon as possible so that, once your nonprofit identifies one or more target funding programs, you may concentrate your energies on preparing your grant application(s). 
IV. How Venable Can Help 

Venable is ready to assist you in identifying and pursuing Recovery Act funding opportunities that will advance your organization’s mission and activities. Through our exceptional team of professionals, which includes former key agency professionals, we bring in-depth experience in navigating the grant application process to achieve successful outcomes for our nonprofit clients. Please contact us for assistance or additional information about Recovery Act funding opportunities.



For more information, please contact Grace Chiu at or 202-344-8220; or Kristen Sitchler at or 202-344-8221.

This article is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion and should not be relied on as such.  Legal advice can only be provided in response to specific fact situations.

[1] Individual states may have different requirements for applying for a sub-award of Recovery Act funds allocated to the state through formula or block grants.