Emergency Food and Shelter Program
United Way of Central Minnesota facilitates the local board of the Emergency Food and Shelter program (EFSP) for Stearns, Benton, and Sherburne Counties. The local board, run by committed volunteers, reviews funding proposals for federal EFSP dollars and makes allocation recommendations to the national board. Local priority areas are emergency rent/mortgage and emergency shelters.
Funding levels are determined based on poverty and average unemployment statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor for the most current 12-month period. Benton, Stearns and Sherburne counties are anticipated to receive $108,515 this year. In 2013, these counties were awarded $96,166 through the Emergency Food and Shelter program with Anna Marie’s Alliance, Community Aid Elk River (CAER), Tri-County Action Program (Tri-CAP), The Salvation Army, Place of Hope and United Way of Central Minnesota participating. This helped cover the cost of 4,543 nights in local shelters and 2,025 individuals with shelter or housing assistance.
The Emergency Food and Shelter Program began in 1983. The program was created by Congress to help meet the needs of hungry and homeless people in the United States and its territories by allocating federal funds for the provision of food and shelter. A national board chaired by a representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) governs the program. United Way Worldwide (UWW) serves as the fiscal agent and secretariat for the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program (EFSP). The staff at UWW provides support to the national board, allocates and disburses funds, provides consultation and technical assistance to local boards and agencies, offers training, and conducts compliance reviews of funded agencies.
United Way of Central Minnesota annually convenes a local board of community partners to determine which organizations can best use these emergency dollars. Our local board also has representation from governmental agencies, non-profits that address food and shelter issues, businesses, the religious community and consumers.