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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). 

By statute, the EFSP National Board is the sole recipient of EFSP grant funds and establishes the program’s policies, procedures and guidelines.

Regular EFSP in Assisting People Nationwide

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) National Board allocates funding to jurisdictions (counties and cities) around the country. These funds support local social service organizations dedicated to feeding, sheltering and providing critical resources to people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness or hunger. 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 their communities, 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.
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Fiscal Year 2023 Funding

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

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Read Frequently Asked Questions about the Regular EFSP. For additional questions contact EFSP staff at

Humanitarian EFSP for Organizations Assisting Migrants

Congress first appropriated funds for EFSP assistance specifically for support for families and individuals encountered by the Department of Homeland Security (EFSP-Humanitarian, or EFSP-H) in 2019 and the following amounts were awarded to the EFSP National Board.

Fiscal YearCongressional ActFunding Total
2019Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border$30 million
2021American Rescue Plan Act of 2021$110 million
2022Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2022$150 million
2023Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2023$425 million
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For additional questions on the humanitarian program, contact EFSP staff at