NEW: RI Awarded $624,000 in Federal Funds for Food and Shelter Assistance
Thursday, August 16, 2012
In an effort to provide critical assistance to struggling families, Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation today announced $624,045 in federal funding to supplement emergency food and shelter programs. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) will support local social service agencies and food pantries in providing food, rent, and utility assistance to individuals faced with non-disaster related emergencies.
“These are difficult economic times. We must do everything we can to create jobs and spur economic growth, but we also need to continue providing support to families in crisis. This federal grant will help local non-profits feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and provide other essential services to those in need,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who also wrote the law reauthorizing the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
“Our state was hit hard by the recent recession, and too many Rhode Island families are still struggling to make ends meet,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “These funds will go to the local agencies and community non-profits working to help Rhode Islanders put food on the table and stay in their homes. It’s just one way we can help our neighbors while we all work to get the economy going again.”
“At a time when so many Rhode Islanders are facing dire circumstances through no fault of their own, we have a responsibility to ensure that families have a chance to get back on their feet,” said U.S. Representative Jim Langevin. “It’s also important that we complement this emergency assistance with job training for the unemployed so that beneficiaries of this funding have the best possible opportunity to transition from government support to becoming productive, taxpaying members of their communities.”
“I am pleased to join my colleagues in announcing critical funds that will help support hardworking families in Rhode Island,” said U.S. Representative David Cicilline. “As we continue to put our state back on the right track, this funding will provide needed relief for many Rhode Islanders facing food and housing insecurity.”
The EFSP program is designed to give local communities flexibility in determining how best to direct these resources to assist families with the greatest need. Providence County is being awarded $386,282 in EFSP funding and $237,763 will be granted to the Rhode Island State Set-Aside Committee, which may award money to additional communities throughout the state. In each community receiving federal money, a local board advertises the availability of funding, establishes priorities, selects local non-profit or government organizations that will get the money, and ensures that all groups are in compliance.
The Emergency Food and Shelter Program’s national board includes representatives from several groups, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, the Jewish Federations of North America, and the United Way of America. Since its inception 29 years ago, more than $3.8 billion in federal EFSP aid has been disbursed to communities throughout the nation.
Last year, House Republicans sought to slash ESFP funding in half, which would have cut $100 million from the program. All four members of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation opposed the cuts and were able to help restore funding to an annual level of $120 million.