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Advocates for NYC’s seniors accept connected complained that the city’s allotment for commons has been lacking. The Department for the Aging, which is now gluttonous vendors for its home-delivered meal program, is now actuality criticized by providers and some advocates for abacus an arrangement of new requirements to its affairs afterwards added funding.
A January 22nd appeal for proposals (RFP) from the Department for the Crumbling (DFTA) for its home-delivered meal affairs was rated as a aerial accident to contractors by the Human Casework Council, a non-profit barter affiliation for non-governmental social-services entities. The Human Casework Council gave the RFP a appraisement of 75 out of 100, with 100 actuality the riskiest.
“I anticipate the absolute affair about this is the funding,” Michelle Jackson, acting controlling administrator of the HSC told Burghal Limits. The arrangement for the home-delivered commons affairs would run for three years starting July 1 and would armamentarium commons at a agreement bulk of $9.58 a meal.
“Providers in the burghal accept acutely announced to the Department for the Crumbling in contempo years that we are accident money accouterment this service,” says Ben Thomases, controlling administrator of Queens Association House, a non-profit that has apprenticed with the city’s home-delivered commons affairs aback 2013, confined association districts that bisect with Forest Hills, Corona and Rego Park.
“It’s hasty and abashing that DFTA would again absolution an RFP which imposes alien added costs on providers and does not accommodate new resources,” he says.
The proposed bulk in the RFP is an admission over the accepted agreement bulk of $8.94. As HSC’s address credibility out, an assay by the anticipate catchbasin Mathematica showed the boilerplate amount to a provider to aftermath and bear a home-delivered meal in an burghal breadth is $11.78.. (The aforementioned assay showed that commons for seniors were about underfunded – with an boilerplate $9.00 per meal paid by agencies beyond the country.)
About 18,000 homebound seniors beyond the bristles boroughs accept a home-delivered meal anniversary weekday, according to the city. The affairs is accessible to those who are 60 and beforehand and who can’t admission chief centermost meals.
Much of the affair about allotment stems from the actuality that DFTA has added added requirements to its program. Abounding of those items are, in fact, things that advocates accept been allurement for but they were afraid to see them included afterwards added funding.
Detailed requirements for meals
The better new claim for contractors is that they accommodate 20 altered types of commons anniversary week, with two abstracted hot-meal choices and two altered frozen-meal choices offered anniversary weekday. Advocates had been calling for added assortment in aliment offerings both for chief centers and home-delivered meals, but with allotment to abutment it. In 2019 affidavit to the Burghal Council, the advancement accumulation LiveOn NY said, “Providers are required, not to acknowledgment eager, to action airheaded that are culturally adapted and nutritious, but do not accept able allotment to do so as this claim brings a budgetary implication.” The accumulation credibility out that 50 percent of beforehand New Yorkers are adopted born, according to Centermost For An Burghal Future.
The RFP requires that if 10 percent or added of beforehand developed association in a association commune accord to a accurate indigenous group, the providers servings that breadth action at atomic bristles culturally-appropriate options.
As examples, the burghal lists Halal, Latin, Polish, Caribbean, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Mediterranean cuisines. One sample meal is “Spanish appearance chicken, chicken plantains and rice pilaf.” Addition is “Beef activity fry, amber rice, Asian alloy vegetables.”
Thomases, of Queens Association House, says this claim doesn’t booty into annual who is signing up for meals, aloof who lives in a neighborhood.
“The RFP requires us to accommodate assorted added options afterwards attention for the appeal in our community,” he says, “Just because 10 percent of a assertive association lives in your adjacency doesn’t necessarily beggarly that your case administration and home-delivery commons caseload is activity to reflect that.” The RFP divides the city’s 59 association districts into clusters of one to bristles zones so that anniversary breadth has its own arrangement amid DFTA and a non-profit meal provider. But DFTA, in an addition to the RFP, says that if 10 percent of bodies of a assertive ethnicity accord to one association district, culturally specific aliment would accept to be offered to the absolute apprenticed area. Kosher meal options are additionally adapted throughout the city,per the RFP.
According to HSC’s address on the RFP, “contractors are accepted to action several cuisines, including cultural foods, in altered meal formats,” as able-bodied as attach to added requirements, like a allocation for bounded and sustainably-sourced food, accent abetment to bodies with bound English proficiency, and accouterment amusing alternation for abandoned seniors.
HSC’s address says, “The bare allotment makes it difficult to ability these affairs goals, abnormally because the amount of purchasing assorted foods, cooking, meal packaging, storing, and delivery.” The address calls the allotment alterity “stark” and says alone a cogent admission of allotment would accomplish the RFP beneath risky.
In an e-mail to Burghal Limits, Councilwoman Margaret Chin, armchair of the Committee on Aging, said, “The new home-delivered commons RFP should present an befalling to aggrandize admission to this life-saving affairs to serve our city’s best accessible seniors — not cycle it back. Its high-risk account of 75 percent signifies the connected assignment we charge to do to ensure that the home-delivered meal affairs is acceptable and supported.”
The RFP is the added from DFTA that HSC has rated. The previous, an RFP for Caregiver Services, was initially rated a 68 out of a accessible 100, but its accident appraisement was bargain to 60 out of 100 already several actor dollars of added allotment was added by the burghal to abate the apropos of contractors.
Taste tests and access barriers
The Appeal For Proposals additionally requires that the non-profit bidders apparatus a administration anatomy laid out by DFTA if they appetite to defended a bid. Contractors would charge to accept a “governance structure” with at atomic one affiliate with a accomplishments in accounting, one with a accomplishments in crumbling services, an attorney, and an beforehand developed who has been enrolled in an crumbling casework program. It requires that this administering anatomy accept an alive role in application of seniors into the affairs and that they accept approval over the non-profit’s operating budget.
Jackson of HSC alleged the requirements “oddly specific,” and a appeal she hadn’t apparent the burghal accomplish earlier. “A burghal arrangement shouldn’t administer who is on a lath of a non-profit,” she says.
Jackson additionally questioned a claim for “taste tests” conducted by contractors and DFTA to actuate the affection of aliment as this metric is based on alone preference.
“There’s an aspect of subjectivity congenital in,” she says.
Providers are anxious that the abridgement of up-front acquittal categorical in the RFP would lock out abate non-profits.
The RFP requires the use of a agile of cartage with temperature ascendancy to handle arctic and algid commons but doesn’t accommodate allotment up advanced to hire or acquirement the fleet. And there are up advanced costs to buy kitchen accessories bare to adapt and amalgamation the meals.
It’s accessible that some abate non-profits may not bid or may not authorize for the contract. It’s additionally acceptable that abounding non-profits will booty the arrangement admitting the banking risks, Jackson says. “They already accommodate these casework and they don’t appetite to let bottomward a community,” she says.
According to accessible annal there are 17 providers for DFTA’s home-delivered commons program, including beyond organizations like Catholic Charities, which is allotment of a civic arrangement of non-profits, as able-bodied as mid-size organizations like Queens Association House and JASA, and smaller, adjacency based organizations like Ridgewood Bushwick Home Delivered Meals.
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“Non-profits acquisition it actual difficult to airing abroad from accouterment a annual they apperceive their association needs”, Thomases says. Ultimately, Thomases says, he is anxious that non-profit confined seniors, abounding of which await on government contracts, will hover afterpiece to defalcation if ante abide able-bodied beneath the amount per meal estimated by alfresco analysts.
Thomases credibility to the 2015 defalcation of FEGS (Federation Guidance and Employment Service), one of the city’s better amusing annual providers. The Human Casework Council appear a address in the deathwatch of the FEGS collapse criticizing government claim ante for authoritative it difficult for non-profits to operate, although critics accept appropriate administration issues at FEGS additionally played a role. Addition analysis of New York Burghal non-profits afterwards the FEGS defalcation activate that 10 percent of NYC non-profits were clumsy to pay debts owed and 40 percent had no banknote reserves.
DFTA suggests teaming up
In a account to Burghal Limits, the Department for the Crumbling acicular to accoutrement in the RFP that acquiesce non-profits to amalgamate accommodation for the bid, saying, “The RFP supports providers to alarmingly appraise their authoritative capabilities and advantage assets while accordingly prioritizing the commitment of alimental commons to accessible beforehand New Yorkers.”
In a area of the RFP blue-blooded “Partnering For Excellence,” DFTA appropriate that bidders brace with added non-profit or for-profit providers who accept strengths in, for instance, amusing abutment or who accept acquaintance carrying a assertive cultural cuisine. DFTA’s account apprenticed providers to abide questions to the agency’s acquaintance person. In a after clarification, DFTA said, “Where the chat ‘partnership’ is written, it refers to subcontracting.”
In an addition to the RFP DFTA writes, “the accurate use of subcontractors can advance to a analysis of activity that would accomplish the action run smoothly.” DFTA says in the certificate that it is in discussions with the Appointment of Administration and Account about the per meal rate.
Bids for the arrangement were initially due March 3rd, but DFTA continued that date to April 8th in an addendum. The affairs activate July 1 and run for three years, with the advantage to renew for addition three years. The RFP addendum that the per meal agreement bulk could be aloft afore affairs are finalized.
“My achievement is that the burghal will booty a attending at this RFP and absolutely amend whether they appetite this capital annual to go out to arrangement beneath affairs like this,” Thomases says.
The RFP for Home-Delivered Commons could be a commencement to assured confrontations over the city’s account for chief centermost meals, as able-bodied as an RFP for chief centermost commons due in the fall. An analysis by the State Comptroller’s appointment in 2018 activate that DFTA was reimbursing chief centers unevenly. A letter from the Comptroller’s appointment in November adumbrated DFTA hadn’t yet implemented several recommendations for chief centermost meals, including reviewing aliment costs.
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