Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When can I apply for grant funding?

A: Grant applications are typically due near the end of February for funding that will be available in the fall of the same year. For current funding opportunities, please visit the Funding Opportunities page.

Q: Who is awarding the funds to the sub-grantees? Is it the Federal Government or the State Goverment? 

A: The State of Vermont, Department of Public Safety receives the funds from the Federal Government and awards funds to the sub-grantees and contractors. 

Q:Do specifications on purchases need to be included in the application?

A: Yes, include anything that will make it clear to the reviewer as to what is being purchased and why it is needed. All equipment requested must be allowable per the funding announcement and must be on the FEMA Authorized Equipment List allowable under the appropriate funding source (i.e.. State Homeland Security Grant Program, Operation Stonegarden, or Nonprofit Security)

 

Q:.Can an agency submit more than one application?

A: Yes, an agency can submit as many applications as they want. It is important that only one application be submitted for each funding opportunity.

 

Q:Is there mandatory cost share or matching required?

A: No – This grant is 100% federally funded.

 

Q:Are there page limits for the application?

A: There is no limit on supporting documents, attachments, or information.

 

Q: What kind of equipment can I apply for?

A: Equipment must be individually listed and approved through the original grant application or in subsequent grant amendments prior to the purchase of the equipment. Allowable equipment categories for FY20 are listed in the Funding Opportunity. To identify an Authorized Equipment List number (AEL#) on the web-based Authorized Equipment List (AEL) at https://www.fema.gov/authorized-equipment-list

Information Bulletin No. 426 - provides details on the process and requirements for requesting controlled equipment. FEMA Form 087-0-0-1 - Controlled Equipment Request is available for download. Any questions concerning the eligibility of equipment should be forwarded to the Homeland Security Unit for clarification.

Applicants shall use their own procurement procedures and regulations if they are more stringent than 2 CFR 200 Part D, 200.317-326 Minimum compliance is the federal standard. 

 

Q: If the a project is approved, is the local agency required to send out a bid?

A: The local agency must follow the local procurement regulations and laws or Federal Terms that apply to such from 2CFR 200. Whichever terms protects the Federal dollars most strenuously shall be applied and monitored for.

 

Q: When can I purchase items or begin work on an approved project?

A: After aan application has been approved, the Department of Public Safety will issue a grant award or contract outlining the scope of work, payment provisions and relevent attachments. Spending of funds may begin when the agreement is signed by both the receiving organization and the Department of Public Safety. In some cases, hold may be placed on theproject by FEMA and work cannot begin, if this occurs, the Department of Public Safety will notify you of next steps. 

  1. DO NOT PURCHASE / AUTHORIZE SPENDING UNTIL YOU HAVE AN EXECUTED AGREEMENT IN YOUR POSSESSION.
  2. Any expenses incurred before the agreement is executed (signed by your organization AND the Commissioner of Public Safety) will not be reimbursed by the Department of Public Safety

Q: Why do I need to provide proof of payment

A: Proof of payment ensures that the request is a reimbursement not an advance and that only eligible approved costs are reimbursed with HSGP program funds.  Before reimbursements are made the project should be completed in accordance with approved grant plan.

 

Q: What are the supporting documents needed to get reimbursed?

A: Instructions regarding reimbursement will be outlined in the executed grant agreement. All requests for reimbursement must include:

i.          Purchase Order, if invoice is dated after the end of the performance period, if applicable.

ii.         Copy of Invoice.

iii.        Copy of the Cancelled Check.

iv.        Program Progress Report Form

v.         HSU Property Records List - All equipment over $5,000.00 per unit price, as well as electronics and IT related equipment, purchased through this grant must be included on the HSU Property Records List. The Subrecipient shall indicate all information listed in the 2CFR 200.

Q:.What is the period of the award?

A: If a project is funded and a grant award executed, the end date of the project will be identified. Typically, agreements for equipment range from 6-12 months in duration. Training projects are 12-24 months and projects funding personnel span 36 months.

Projects funded under this program application have up to one month prior to the grant’s federal expiration date to complete approved activities and submit their final reimbursement request including invoices and cancelled checks. All projects must be completed by August 31, 2023.

 

Q: Do you have you have sample policies for any of the following required items: Grant Management Policy; Procurement Procedures/Policy; Inventory Policy; Conflict of Interest Policy; Payroll Policy; Personnel policies/procedures?

A: We do not provide sample policies, as policies should be specific to the organization they belong to. You may want to think about reaching out to similar organizations that you work with or look online. The State of Vermont’s policies and procedures are publicly available on their website, should you think them applicable.

 

Q: How do I dispose of old, broken, outdated, or unused equipment purchased with Homeland Security Grant Program funds?

A: There are several options depending on the state of the equipment. If the equipment is old, broken or unusable, you may dispose of the item in the trash, recycling or other appropriate method. If the item could be used by another department, you may give it to a department for free, trade the equipment for something else or sell the equipment, as long as you do not sell the equipment for market value. In any of the above cases, you must document the status of the equipment on your Property Records List. If you give, trade or sell the equipment, you must also complete transfer of ownership documentation for your grant file.

Guidance on equipment disposition can be found here:  Equipment Disposition Instructions 

 

Q: What is SAM and why do I have to have to be registered there?

A: The System for Award Management (SAM) has combined several federal procurement systems and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance into one system. The consolidation has been done in phases. The overarching benefits of SAM include streamlined and integrated processes, elimination of data redundancies, and reduced costs while providing improved capability. 

 

Q: What are the reporting requirements?

A: Each project funded by the Department of Public Safety under the HSGP or NSGP shall contain an evaluation component. Quarterly reports containing programmatic and financial information will be required.

  1. A completed Program Progress Report Form must be submitted each time reimbursement is requested or bi-annually, at a minimum. The reporting periods are July 1 -  December 31 (due January 15), January 1 – June 30 (due July 15).  If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, please submit the following business day. A final report is due within 30 days of the end date of this grant agreement. Program Progress Report Form is required even if no activity has been performed on the project.

  2. Program Progress Report Form is required even if no activity has been performed on the project.

  3. The Program Progress Report Form shall be completed to the best of the grantees’ ability. Blank, incomplete, or insufficient Program Progress Report Forms will not be accepted.

  4. The State reserves the right to withhold part or all grant funds if the State does not receive timely documentation of the successful completion of grant deliverables.

The Department of Public Safety may conduct periodic site visits to review grant compliance, assess management controls, assess the applicable activities and provide technical assistance. In addition, the subgrantee agrees to provide any data or information needed for the purposes of monitoring and program evaluation.

 

Q: Why are progress reports required?

A: Progress reports are necessary to provide Department of Public Safety the tools to meet its federal reporting and monitoring requirements on the status of grants awarded to the state.

 

Q: What are the Financial Requirements that pertain to this grant?

A: The financial management requirements of federal and state government, as well as the Vermont Department of Public Safety’s policies and procedures, govern grants funded under HSGP. Grant activities must be conducted in accordance with the applicable guidance of 2 CFR Part 200.

 

Q: What is EHP and when do does my agency have to complete an EHP survey?

A: The Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (EHP) program integrates the protection and enhancement of environmental, historic, and cultural resources into FEMA's mission, programs and activities; ensures that FEMA's activities and programs related to disaster response and recovery, hazard mitigation, and emergency preparedness comply with federal environmental and historic preservation laws and executive orders; and provides environmental and historic preservation technical assistance to FEMA staff, local, State and Federal partners, and grantees and subgrantees.

It is a requirement of all federal preparedness grants that an EHP survey be completed if any new construction, ground disturbance or installation is going to take place on a project utilizing federal grant funds. The survey must be completed and approved prior to the funds being awarded.

 

Q: What is programmatic monitoring and why have has my agency been chosen to have a visit?

A: Programmatic Monitoring is the process that VTHSU utilizes to review projects to ensure that they are being programatically completed in accordance with the grant agreement. They are not Financial Audits. Programmatic Monitoring focuses on open grant years only. 

 

Q: What does the programmatic monitoring process entail?

A: The process starts with VTHSU reaching out to a community to schedule the visit. The community will receive a letter to confirm the date/time of the visit, what to expect during the visit and the necessary documentation to be provided prior to the visit. VTHSU will review all of the grant files and will prepare the necessary documentation for the visit.

VTHSU will meet with the community, view the grant purchased items, and ask a series of questions regarding the grant process, NIMS, and training or exercising needs.

VTHSU will prepare a report outlining the visit, strengths and areas for improvement or concern. VTHSU will send the report to the community for comment and to develop a corrective action plan, if necessary. Once VTHSU has received comment or corrective action from the community, VTHSU will follow the community until the corrective actions are complete. Once complete, the monitoring visit will be closed

 

Q: What is a Property Records List and do I need one?

A: A Property Records List is a list of all items purchased with Homeland Security Funds. This is similar to an Asset List and can be combined with the agency’s ongoing asset list; however, items purchased with Homeland Security funds must be identified as such. If the agencies ongoing asset list is utilized, then 2 CFR 200.313 Code of Federal Regulations must be referenced to ensure that all categories detailed are utilized, as required.

All equipment over $5,000.00 per unit price, as well as electronics and IT related equipment, purchased through this grant must be included on the Homeland Security Grant Program Property Records List.

An applicant may be required to submit a completed Property Records List when applying for additional equipment. In this case, this list should contain all items being applied for, owned by the department, regardless of funding source. See the individual Request for Application Document for guidance as to whether or not a Property Records List is required to be included with your application.

 

Q: When do I need an amendment?

A: You may need an amendment if:

  • You have a change to the scope of work to your project.

  • You would like to purchase an item different from those listed in the Attachment A of your grant agreement.

  • You need additional time to complete your project for any reason.

  • You need additional funding to complete the project.

There may be other reasons that you need an amendment. If you are unsure whether you require an amendment, please contact your Financial Administrator and talk to them about what is happening with your project. They will work with you to determine the best course of action within the parameters of your grant agreement

Agencies receiving funds must inform the DPS Financial Administrator and Program Manager in writing of any delays, proposed equipment substitutions or desired changes to the physical/geographic deployment, concept of operations, and/or technical specifications in order to determine if an amendment is warranted. An Amendment Request for OPSG and HSGP funding can be made using this form:  Amendment Request Form

  1. If an amendment to this agreement is necessary, no purchases or work may be completed under the adjusted scope of the agreement until the amendment has been executed.

 

Q: Why am I required to keep documentation after my grant is closed?

A: Federal law requires that documentation (all financial records, supporting documents, statistical records) pertinent to the award be retained by each organization for at least three years from the date the grant is closed at the federal level. This may be up to 5 years from when your grant was completed. In addition per Federal requirement the tracking of all equipment must comply with Code of Federal Regulations-Title 2 CFR 200.313- Equipment. Updates are required every two years inclusive of reporting the final disposition of any grant acquired equipment.

 

Q: How are priorities identified and funding allocated to projects?

A: VTHSU utilizes the following process for priority development and funding:

HSU Contact Information

Vermont Homeland Security Unit                                For all HSGP/NSPG/Grant related questions: DPS.HSUGrants@vermont.gov

VIC Contact Information

Vermont Intelligence Center
(802) 872-6110
dps.vic@list.vermont.gov