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  5. Rural Behavioral Health Workforce Centers – Northern Border Region Frequently Asked Questions

Rural Behavioral Health Workforce Centers – Northern Border Region Frequently Asked Questions

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General Application FAQs

I am having difficulty finding the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) – can you direct me to the full application instructions?

Direct link to NOFO (Select “Package” → ”Preview” → ”Download Instructions”)

To apply: Go to opportunity HRSA-21-117 on and select apply!

I was unable to attend HRSA's Technical Assistance Webinar for this funding opportunity. Is the webinar recording available?

View the full recording. The passcode is +b3.6cJV.

I am having difficulty accessing/navigating How do you recommend I proceed?

Applicants should contact the support team at: 1-800-518-4726 or

I am having difficulty accessing the System for Award Management (SAM) to register or update my account. How do you recommend I proceed?

Contact the Federal Support Desk. They can assist you with creating an account; assigning roles to an account; entity registrations; exclusions; and searching for data in SAM.

Please note: you must submit your application electronically by the deadline posted on the NOFO. If you need to request a waiver from the submission requirement, you must request an exemption in writing from within 5 calendar days of the opportunity’s closing date, and provide details as to why you are technologically unable to submit electronically through the portal. Please refer to pages 16-17 of the SF-424 Application Guide.

I have a specific question about the Notice of Funding Opportunity that is not answered here.

Please review the TA Webinar Recording if you have not already. The passcode is +b3.6cJV.

HRSA Staff contact email: or Sarah O’Donnell at 240-485-8245. Please note that HRSA staff will answer clarifying questions about the NOFO requirements, but cannot provide guidance on proposed approaches.

Eligible Entities and Proposed Service Areas

What are the requirements for an eligible applicant?

Please refer to Page 6 of the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).

  • Eligible applicants include all domestic public or private, non-profit or for-profit entities.
  • Eligible entities must be physically located in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine, and must have demonstrated experience serving eligible rural counties and rural census tracts in the NBRC service region.
  • Applicants may only apply to serve one of the following four states: New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine.
  • Eligible entities must be located within the state for which they are applying. For example, an applicant organization applying to serve New York must be physically located within New York.

Are current and previous Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) award recipients eligible to apply?

Yes, current and past RCORP award recipients are eligible to apply.

What is the eligible service area for this grant?

All planned activities supported by this program must exclusively target the HRSA-designated rural counties and rural census tracts within the NBRC service area, as listed in Appendix A. Within partially rural counties, only HRSA-designated rural census tracts are eligible to receive activities and services supported by this award.

Service Area: Applicants must include in their target rural service area all eligible rural NBRC counties and census tracts for the state in which they are applying.

My organization has its headquarters in an urban area. Are we allowed to apply?

Applicants can be located in rural or urban areas, but funding may only support activities and services in eligible rural NBRC counties and census tracts.

Applicants must include in their target rural service area all eligible rural NBRC counties and census tracts for the state in which they are applying (see Appendix A).

Application Requirements and Allowable Costs

Where can I find the data/information required for the Needs Assessment section of the application?

Per the notice of funding opportunity, applicants should use the most recent available data/information from appropriate sources (e.g., local, state, tribal, federal) and cite any information they provide. Appendix C contains several resources applicants can leverage.

Is it problematic if our project targets rural populations, but urban populations also happen to benefit?

While award recipients should exclusively target populations residing in eligible rural NBRC counties and census tracts, it is acceptable if a relatively small number of urban residents also happen to incidentally benefit from the grant.

Will I need to complete an A-133 audit for this grant?

In general, if an award recipient’s federal awards exceed $750,000 in any given year, they will need to conduct an audit.

However, please refer to Subpart F of the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards for further guidance.

Can my program focus on individuals with behavioral health disorders other than OUD?

While the RBHWCs may define behavioral health care services broadly, applicants must also demonstrate a specific focus on substance use disorder, in line with the RCORP initiative.

Are participant support costs allowable for this grant?

Participant support costs—i.e., direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects—are allowable costs provided they are reasonable and comply with all other applicable requirements.

In this context, “employees” refers to individuals directly employed on an hourly, salaried or employment contract basis by the applicant organization/award recipient. Individuals employed by sub-contractors, consortium members and sub-recipients are not included in this definition.

My project will not have hired all of our project staff by the time the application is due. How do I account for this in my application?

In Attachment 4 (“Staffing Plan”), it is appropriate to write TBH under “Name” if the individual has not yet been hired. However, you should include a timeline and process for rapidly filling any positions that are vacant at the time of application, including the projected start date for the position.

What is the FTE requirement for the Project Director?

The notice of funding opportunity requires that the Project Director devote at least 0.25 FTE to the grant. Project Directors cannot bill more than 1.0 FTE across federal grants.

Can we designate more than one Project Director on the grant?

More than one Project Director is allowable in the staffing plan, but only one Project Director can be designated in Box 8f of the SF424 Application Face Page, and this is the Project Director who will be officially reflected on the Notice of Award if awarded funding.

Will there be an in-person meeting for award recipients to attend? If so, should we include that in our proposed budget?

You are expected to budget for the following trips:

  • A three-day program meeting in Washington, DC, once in every project year.
  • A two-day regional program meeting, two times during the period of performance. For budgeting purposes, you can assume that this will take place within the Northern Border Regional Commission region.

HRSA will work with award recipients to make any budget adjustments, once the details of these meetings are finalized.

Note that you may also propose additional meetings and conferences to attend, which are directly related to the purpose of the program and will support achievement of project goals and objectives.

RBHWC funds cannot be used for, among other things, the following purposes:

  • To supplant existing funding sources.
  • To pay down bad debt. Bad debt is debt that has been determined to be uncollectable, including losses (whether actual or estimated) arising from uncollectable accounts and other claims. Related collection and legal costs arising from such debts after they have been determined to be uncollectable are also unallowable.
  • To pay the difference between the cost to a provider for performing a service and the provider's negotiated rate with third-party payers (i.e., anticipated shortfall).
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