RI to Receive $474,400 for Emergency Food and Shelter Programs

May 26, 2016 Issues: Children and Families, Economy and Jobs, Housing, Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s federal delegation today announced $474,400 in federal funding to support emergency food and shelter programs that serve the hungry and homeless. The funding is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) and may be utilized by local social service agencies to offer food, housing, and utility assistance for those in need.

“This federal funding will help fight poverty in Rhode Island.  This grant helps local non-profits put food on the table and provide shelter for those in need. By working together with local service agencies, this cost-effective program builds the capacity of food pantries and shelter programs in high-need areas,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.

“Too many Rhode Islanders are one illness or job loss away from losing their home or the ability to feed their family,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “This federal funding will help families in crisis to put food on the table and keep the lights on, so they can weather difficult times and get back on their feet.”

Local jurisdictions qualify for EFSP allocations based on criteria that include population, unemployment, and poverty levels. The EFSP program is designed to give local communities flexibility in determining how best to direct these resources to assist families with the greatest need. Providence County is being awarded $362,309 in EFSP funding and $112,091 will be granted to the Rhode Island State Set-Aside Committee, which may award money to additional communities throughout the state. In each community receiving federal money, a local board advertises the availability of funding, establishes priorities, selects local non-profit or government organizations that will get the money, and ensures that all groups are in compliance.

“While our economy has been steadily improving and unemployment declining, there are still too many Rhode Islanders living in poverty. These people, often supporting families, are one paycheck away from homelessness or are forced to decide between buying food and paying the rent,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “We need a safety net so these individuals do not fall through the cracks, and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds will do just that – provide assistance that might seem small, but to a Rhode Islander in need, can make all the difference.”

“As we work to get Rhode Island’s economy moving again, it’s essential that we provide food and nutrition relief for the 54,000 Rhode Island households who can’t afford three meals a day,” said Congressman David Cicilline. “This new federal funding will help ensure that more families have food on their table and the resources they need to get ahead.”

A national board, chaired by FEMA, with representatives from American Red Cross; Catholic Charities USA; The Jewish Federations of North America; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Salvation Army; and United Way Worldwide, is the sole recipient of EFSP funds from FEMA and establishes the program’s policies, procedures, and guidelines. The United Way also serves as the National Board’s Secretariat and Fiscal Agent, administering the program on a day-to-day basis.

EFSP funds were first appropriated by Congress in 1983 and subsequently authorized to be appropriated annually under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 (PL 100-77).

In order to apply for EFSP funds, eligible service agencies must be a private, voluntary non-profit, or local government; eligible to receive federal funding; have a demonstrated ability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter assistance; have an accounting system and conduct an annual audit; practice non-discrimination; and if a non-profit, have a voluntary board of directors. Qualifying organizations are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit: www.efsp.unitedway.org.