Answering COVID-19 Response Phase Three questions


Dec. 18, 2020

Answering COVID-19 Response
Phase Three questions

The Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) has received numerous questions about the COVID-19 Response Program, Phase Three. While many of those questions are community-specific, we have seen a trend with common questions that may be applicable to any applicant. Below are answers to those common questions:

Eligible activity specific

EA-1. Can a community apply for multiple eligible activities?
Yes, a community can apply for multiple activities. Unlike in Phase One, communities will submit one application and must receive approval from the CDBG Program Director prior to submission of the proposal on January 29, 2021. Please work with your OCRA Community Liaison to schedule a call with the CDBG Program Director if you plan to apply for multiple activities in your application.

EA-2. Can a community use a for-profit provider in providing mental health or childcare services?
Yes, a for-profit provider can be used if they are appropriately licensed and/or certified. Please note that the use of a for-profit does add some additional work for the community in managing the grant, if awarded.

EA-3. Can we award microenterprises or sole proprietorships?
Yes, communities can make awards to microenterprises. With any microenterprise, there must be five or less employees with one of them being the owner. Sole proprietorships are a type of legal business entity. OCRA’s focus is on the business meeting the definition of a microenterprise or for-profit small business. If you have questions about microenterprises or sole proprietorships, please contact your OCRA Community Liaison.

EA-4. What is OCRA’s definition of a small business?
Similar to Phase Two, a small business is defined as one with has less than 100 employees.

EA-5. Are 501c3 organizations eligible for job retention funding?
No, funding based on job retention is limited to for-profit businesses per HUD guidance. We encourage you to look at the other funding opportunities through Phase Three to support non-profit organizations that provide mental health, childcare, and other services.

Public Hearings

PH-1. When does the first public hearing need to occur?
The first public hearing needs to occur after the submission of the proposal, but before the submission of the application. This is to avoid any community being required to redo a hearing due to changes in the details of their proposed activity. If a community is not able to hold a hearing during this period, they must contact their respective Community Liaison to determine if there are any other options.

PH-2. Can the public hearing be conducted virtually?
OCRA defers to guidance from Indiana’s Public Access Counselor. as to the current requirements for public hearings. At the time of this announcement, virtual hearings are allowed. Questions on conducting a virtual public hearing should be directed to the Indiana Public Access Counselor.

Application Process

AP-1. Is there a site visit required for Phase Three?
No, there is not a required site visit. However, your Community Liaison will contact you with any threshold comments from the review of your proposal. Your OCRA Community Liaison will also provide technical assistance to help improve your application’s competitiveness.

Grant Administration

GA-1. Can a community pay more for grant administration than the 2.5 percent if paid from local funds?
Yes, but OCRA will only consider the 2.5 percent as eligible. Any amount over will be considered ineligible for the purposes of calculating local match and project costs.


P-1. Can a community use their local procurement process for professional services, including grant administration, if they will be paid from local funds?
Yes, a local procurement process can be used if local funds are used. The procurement process should be clearly documented as it is checked by State Boards of Account during their audits.


As a reminder, an informational webinar was held on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020 that further explained this phase. A copy of the webinar and the PowerPoint slides are available to review. Please continue to send OCRA questions as proposals are being prepared. Additional announcements may be sent in the coming weeks as more questions are received. A copy of this message will also be linked on the COVID-19 Response website.

Proposals are being accepted until 11:59 p.m. ET Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. However, applicants are encouraged to submit by 4 p.m. ET as there will be no technical support available after that time. Proposal submission will be collected via the electronic Grants Management System. Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 26, 2021.


Under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as the Secretary of Rural Development, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs’ (OCRA) mission is to work with local, state and national partners to provide resources and technical assistance to assist communities in shaping and achieving their vision for community and economic development. For more information, visit