Thanks for the question, Robert G. I'm sure you're not the only person with this question. The Rules Section 8.a-b provide an explanation that the contest would begin accepting submissions starting March 22, 2012, and that judges would review submissions on a rolling basis. The contest period, the Rules explain, could be modified but would only be done so by a formal announcement.
Last month, we issued a formal announcement that reiterated the “first across the goal line” format of Project REACH. You can view that here: http://reachthehomeless.challenge.gov/updates/253. Note that in the discussion, we provided the following: “We evaluate submissions as they come in. When they qualify, we accept them. When they fail to qualify, we tell submitters precisely why their submission did not satisfy the requirements. Once we identify the first five to meet the criteria we will close the submission period.”
Reading the update there is no indication that the project will close to submissions once 5 made the cut. You only clarified this in the discussion below the update without issuing a clarification or updating the rules.
I've had 10 engineers volunteering to work in their spare time to come up with the best app which would meet and exceed the requirements. We've conducted interviews with many people who run the shelters in the Monmouth County and put a lot of time into this only to find out that we've been shut out based on an unclear set of rules.
Something my team felt good about now feels like a waste of time.