“Emergency Food and Shelter Program: FEMA-funded Support for Individuals and Families in Need”

Emergency Food and Shelter Program

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) is a FEMA-funded initiative that aims to provide shelter, food, and supportive services to individuals and families who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing hunger and/or homelessness.

This program supplements the work of local nonprofit and governmental social service organizations, and it is authorized by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987. The program also receives funding to provide humanitarian relief to families and individuals encountered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The EFSP National Board is the sole recipient of EFSP grant funds and is responsible for establishing the program’s policies, procedures, and guidelines. In Fiscal Year 2023, the DHS Appropriations Act appropriated $130 million to FEMA, which will award the funds to the EFSP National Board to support local social service organizations dedicated to feeding, sheltering, and providing critical resources to people facing economic emergencies.

The EFSP National Board will allocate the program’s annual funding to jurisdictions (counties and cities) around the country based on the most recent national population, unemployment, and poverty data. Local boards will then advertise the availability of grant funding, review applications, and award grants to organizations that provide services to those in need. The funds can be used for a wide range of services, including food, lodging, rental or mortgage assistance, utility payments, transportation costs, and supplies and equipment.

In addition, FEMA has awarded $75 million in humanitarian relief funding to the EFSP National Board for distribution to local social service organizations assisting individuals and families encountered by the DHS. The Bipartisan Year-End Omnibus signed into law by President Biden directs U.S. Customs and Border Protection to transfer $800 million in funding to FEMA to establish a new Shelter and Services Program to support CBP in managing migrant processing and preventing overcrowding in short-term holding facilities.

A portion of that funding will be used for the EFSP-H program to provide time for CBP and FEMA to establish the new program. FEMA is working with CBP and the DHS to determine how much funding will be directed to the EFSP-H program.

For additional information, applicants can visit the EFSP website or contact EFSP staff at suppfund@uww.unitedway.org. Local boards can also be contacted for technical assistance and to ask questions.

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