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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.

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

On Nov. 3, 2022, FEMA 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 Department of Homeland Security.  

On Dec. 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law a Bipartisan Year-End Omnibus. The Omnibus 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 effectively managing migrant processing and preventing the overcrowding of short-term CBP holding facilities. The Omnibus also authorizes the use of a portion of that funding for the EFSP-H program, in order to provide time for CBP and FEMA to establish the new program.

On March 1, 2023, FEMA awarded $350 million to the EFSP-H (Humanitarian) program National Board to help local communities around the country better manage the costs of noncitizen arrivals in their communities. This is the first major portion of funding that is being allocated for humanitarian assistance under the Omnibus funding approved in December. Read more here.

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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