Administration for Children Youth and Families – Family and Youth Services Bureau – Basic Center Program

The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) recently opened applications for its Basic Center Program (BCP). As with many federal grant opportunities, there are a lot of “so” questions that come to my mind.

So, what is the BCP?

Funded under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act passed in 1974, BCP works to establish or strengthen community-based programs that meet the immediate needs of youth and families of youth, who have run away from home or are experiencing homelessness.

The purpose of the BCP is to provide emergency shelter and counseling services to youth under the age of 18 who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • have left home without permission of their parents or guardians;
  • have been forced to leave their home;
  • cannot live safely with a parent, legal guardian, or relative;
  • have no other safe alternative living arrangement; or
  • are experiencing homelessness and might otherwise end up in contact with law enforcement or in the child welfare, mental health, or juvenile justice systems.

Projects must provide participants with temporary emergency shelter or safe and stable housing for no fewer than four days and no more than 21 days (with FYSB funding) as well as individual, family, and group counseling. Shelters or host family homes must be licensed.

FYSB expects to award 120 grants totaling $24,000,000. The application deadline is 7/30/2020. The maximum award amount is $200,000 per budget period for a total of three years with an anticipated start date of September 30, 2020. In FY2019, FYSB awarded approximately 85 BCP grants totaling over $15,000,0000.

So, what makes a project a good fit? Successful BCP projects will:

  • Demonstrate experience. Priority is given to applicants with demonstrated experience in providing services to the target population.
  • Enhance four core outcome areas for youth: 1) social and emotional well-being; 2) permanent connections; 3) education or employment; and 4) safe and stable housing.
  • Follow the comprehensive youth-centered service model, trauma-informed services, Positive Youth Development, and evidence-informed practices.
  • Promote collaboration and partnership with communities and describe coordinated systems of care (e.g. government, continuums of care (CoCs), nonprofits, and service providers) to ensure ability to serve youth after program exit.
  • Ensure services are accessible 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.
  • Provide a match of 10% cash or in-kind contribution.

Additionally, projects can deliver other services including street-based services; home-based services for families with youth at risk of separation from the family; drug abuse education and prevention services; and, at the request of runaway and homeless youth, testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

So, what if I am ready to apply? What do I do next? The deadline is coming quickly! To move your application forward, take the following actions ASAP:

  • Make sure your System for Award Management (SAM) registration is active and be sure you have agov profile. You can check your SAM status here: https://www.sam.gov/SAM/pages/public/searchRecords/search.jsf.
  • Begin gathering letters of support/commitment (key organizational support) from agency partners such as government entities, CoCs, non-profits, and service providers.
  • Develop a program logic model.
  • Identify what you will use for your cash or in-kind budget match.
  • Gather data about the need for services in your community, including the number of youth with runaway or homeless status; and
  • Gather data and documentation demonstrating your experience and success in serving the target population, such as youth outcomes, and organization and staff capacity (licensure, emergency preparedness plan, training plan, background checks).

So, what if I am not ready to apply this year? Start thinking and planning ahead for the next year’s round. Things you could begin thinking about are: identifying areas where your project is lacking and create an actionable plan to strengthen your project design, and conducting research on local community needs surveys pertaining to the target population. If none exist, investigate conducting your own with the help and buy-in of other community organizations.

So, what else do I need to know to get my project funded?

  • Check out FYSB’s website at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/fysb/programs/runaway-homeless-youth. It offers a wealth of resources on BCP and other programs including everything from fact sheets to current grantees and estimated funding allocations per state.
  • Contact Assel Grant Services at rosie.brennan@asselgrantservices.com if you need assistance preparing this grant. AGS has a qualified team of grant professionals who have written several awarded BCP proposals and have served as a federal reviewer for FYSB programs.

Competency #1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs

Skill 1.2: Identify major trends in public funding and public policy

Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organization

Skill 1.7: Determine best matches between funders and specific programs