Morgan County is set to receive four times the amount of federal funding for emergency food and shelter compared to last year.
$30,000 in funding has been awarded to Morgan County through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
The EFSP is funding is made available through the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, via the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program.
Established in 1983, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program was intended to provide funding to help the needs of the homeless, and later expanded to include identification of and assistance to the elderly, needy families with children, Native Americans and Veterans.
Executive Director of the Prairieland United Way Karen Walker says this year’s funding has been increased thanks to steps taken by congress in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last year we received seven thousand dollars total for our county. This year the Phase 37 portion of it is over twelve thousand dollars and we have an additional eighteen thousand through the CARES Act to give out to food and shelter programs.
To go from seven thousand last year to thirty thousand this year, obviously we know the need is much greater and that’s definitely the reason for the increase in funds, but it is exciting to get that money out into the community.”
Walker says it is the local EFSP Board who is charged with distributing the funds to local agencies who assist the needy.
“The United Way chairs that board, but it is made up of law enforcement individuals as well as clergy and other area social workers. The guidelines that we follow come from the federal government on actually who sits on that board.
Currently we have the Morgan County Sheriff as well as some of our clergy and some of our social service agencies that represent the board.”
Local agencies must meet certain criteria set by the national board in order to qualify for the funding, including being voluntary non-profit agencies.
Applications are available now for the funding. Walker says this year’s distribution not only has a greater amount to give, but also a shorter time frame to get applications in and approved.
“This is another quick turn around, typically it’s not this tight, but they just announced the funds over the weekend. The applications are out now and are available. If anyone is interested they can notify me and I can get the application to them, and then they have to be returned by May 20th. Then the board will connive and review the requests and determine how we can best spend the money, and then notify all of our agencies by the end fo the month.”
For more information on the Emergency Food and Shelter Program funding, go to prairielandunitedway.org
To get an application for the funding, contact Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 217-245-4557. Walker says due to the stay at home order, hours spent in the office are limited, so email communication may give a faster response.