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Emergency Food and Shelter Program

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program began in 1983 with a $50 million federal appropriation. The program was created by Congress to help meet the needs of hungry and homeless people throughout the United States and its territories by allocating federal funds for the provision of food and shelter.

The program is governed by a National Board composed of representatives of the American Red CrossCatholic Charities, USAThe Jewish Federations of North AmericaNational Council of the Churches of Christ in the USAThe Salvation Army; and United Way Worldwide. The Board is chaired by a representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The National Board uses a formal population, poverty, and unemployment data to determine how much money is awarded to each county or jurisdiction.   Once that determination is made, the Local Emergency Food and Shelter Program Board is informed of the award amount.   

Local Board members are comprised of representatives from American Red Cross West Michigan Region, Catholic Charities West Michigan, C.O.V.E. FiveCap, Inc., Ludington Area Senior Center, Mason County government, Lakeshore Food Club, and The Salvation Army, with United Way of Mason County serving as the Chair of the Board.  

For a local agency to be eligible for funding it must:

  • Be a nonprofit or an agency of government with a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) and a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number;

  • Be providing services and using its other resources in the area in which they are seeking funding;

  • Practice nondiscrimination (those agencies with a religious affiliation wishing to participate in the program must not refuse services to an applicant based on religion or require attendance at religious services as a condition of assistance, nor will such groups engage in any religious proselytizing in any program receiving EFSP funds;

  • Have a voluntary board if private, not-for-profit;

  • To the extent practicable, involve homeless individuals and families, through employment, volunteer programs, etc., in providing emergency food and shelter services;

  • Not be debarred or suspended from receiving Federal funding;

  • Have a checking account and sign up for EFT (cash payments are not allowed);

  • Have an accounting system or fiscal agent approved by the Local Board, and conduct an independent annual audit if receiving $100,000 or more in EFSP funds; conduct an annual accountant's review if receiving $50,000 to $99,999 in EFSP fund and

  • Have a valid email address for program communication and electronic signature processes.

The Local Emergency Food and Shelter Board may award funding to agencies that are providing the following types of services and meet the eligibility criteria outlined above:

  • Food

  • Lodging

  • Rent/Mortgage Payment

  • Equipment to Shelter or Feed People


Requests are due by Thursday, February 17th, 2022 by 5:00pm.

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