FEMA Disburses Emergency Food and Shelter Program Funding

Release Date Release Number
Release Date:
June 8, 2020

WASHINGTON  – This week, FEMA announced that the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) National Board will begin disbursing $320 million to assist organizations in communities across the country dedicated to providing food, shelter and supportive services to people with economic emergencies, including our nation's hungry and homeless populations.

Congress appropriated $200 million of this funding as supplemental humanitarian funding in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Congress also appropriated $120 million in Fiscal Year 2019 annual funding to the EFSP. The funding, totaling $320 million, will be awarded by jurisdictions (counties or cities) to human service organizations assisting those in need throughout the country.

These funds are for people with non-disaster related emergencies and can be used for a broad range of services, including: mass shelter, mass feeding, food pantries and food banks, payment of one-month’s utility bills to prevent loss of services, payment of one-month’s rent/mortgage to prevent evictions/foreclosures and transition assistance from shelters to stable living conditions.

With this $320 million funding, the EFSP will have disbursed more than $4.8 billion to communities in the United States and its territories in its 38-year history. An estimated 3.1 billion meals, 293.4 million nights of shelter, 7.2 million utility payments and 5.3 million rent/mortgage payments to help families stay in their homes will have been provided.

EFSP grants have been disbursed to over 14,000 local providers in more than 2,500 counties and cities. Program oversight by the National Board, FEMA, and independent auditors ensures that there is strong accountability in the stewardship of the program. Independently audited on an annual basis (A-133 audits), the program has received clean audits since its inception.

The National Board is 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. The National Board governs the EFSP and has selected United Way Worldwide to serve as its secretariat and fiscal agent.

EFSP funding is allocated to qualifying local jurisdictions based on an allocation formula using the most recent national population, unemployment, and poverty statistics. Grants are then awarded to nonprofit community and government organizations chosen by local boards in the qualifying jurisdictions.

A state-by-state list of the qualifying jurisdictions and award amounts is available at www.efsp.unitedway.org.

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