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Emergency Food and Shelter Program

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) is a FEMA-funded program authorized by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987. The program supplements and expands ongoing work of local nonprofit and governmental social service organizations to provide shelter, food and supportive services to individuals and families who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, hunger and/or homelessness. The program may also receive funding to award to the National Board for distribution to local social service organizations that 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 establishes the program’s policies, procedures and guidelines.

Fiscal Year 2023 Funding

The DHS Appropriations Act, 2023, appropriated $130 million to FEMA, which in turn awards the money to the EFSP National Board to support local social service organizations aiding our nation’s hungry and homeless.

In December 2022, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program’s National Board awarded $71.2 million ($75 million minus administrative costs) to assist communities receiving noncitizens released from custody as they await the outcome of their immigration proceedings.  On May 5, 2023, the National Board announced an additional $332.5 million ($350 million minus administrative costs) in assistance.

Regular EFSP in Assisting People Nationwide

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) National Board will allocate the program’s Fiscal Year 2023 annual ($130 million) funding to jurisdictions (counties and cities) around the country. These funds will support local social service organizations dedicated to feeding, sheltering and providing critical resources to people with economic emergencies. These funds are for people with non-disaster related emergencies and can be used for a broad range of services.

The EFSP National Board allocates funds to local boards in qualifying jurisdictions using the most recent national population, unemployment and poverty data. Local boards then advertise the availability of grant funding in the community, review applications and award grants to organizations that provide services to those in need. Services can include:

  • Food, in the form of served meals or groceries.
  • Lodging in a mass shelter or hotel.
  • Rental or mortgage assistance to prevent evictions.
  • Utility payment to prevent service cut-offs.
  • Transportation costs associated with the provision of food or shelter.
  • Supplies and equipment necessary to feed or shelter people.

Funds for Organizations Assisting Migrants

Congress first appropriated funds for EFSP assistance specifically for migrant support (EFSP-Humanitarian, or EFSP-H) in 2019 and the following amounts were awarded to the EFSP National Board.

YearCongressional ActFunding Total
2019Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance$30 million
2021American Rescue Plan Act of 2021$110 million
2022Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act / Continuing Appropriations Act$150 million / $75million
2023Department of Homeland Security Appropriation Act$350 million used
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Read Frequently Asked Questions about the EFSP.

Additional Resources

Local boards and contacts can be found on the EFSP website under the Humanitarian Funding Info tab. Applicants do not need to contact their local boards to submit applications but can contact their local boards for technical assistance and to ask questions.

For additional questions, contact EFSP staff at