United Way awarded $78,000 for food, shelter programs

The United Way of Southwest Michigan has been awarded $78,357 to distribute to area emergency food and shelter programs this year.

Those interested in applying for some of these funds for Phase 36 of the Federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP/FEMA) can submit requests for funding to the United Way no later than 5 p.m. June 28.

A local board of community members and the United Way will determine, based on current need of the communities, how the funds are awarded and distributed.

Under the terms of the previous grant from the Emergency Food and Shelter (FEMA) National Board, local governmental or private voluntary organizations chosen to receive funds must:

• Be a nonprofit organization;

• Have a formal accounting system and conduct an annual audit;

• Practice non-discrimination;

• Have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food, emergency financial assistance and/or shelter programs;

• Maintain a minimum number of weekly hours with a staff person or a volunteer;

• Have a voluntary board if a private voluntary organization;

• Use funds on an ongoing basis to supplement and extend food and shelter services, not as substitute for other program funds or to start a new program;

• Maintain detailed records and documentation of program expenses if awarded an allocation. Also, it is preferable that applying organizations have an automated tracking system to monitor client use;

• Be able to certify that they are not debarred or suspended from receiving federal funds.

This assistance is made possible by the National Board, chaired by the Emergency Food and Shelter/ Federal Emergency Management Agency. United Way of America serves as the fiscal agent to the National Board.

Funding is based upon 12-month unemployment rates, the total number of unemployed, number of individuals below the poverty level, and the total population of Berrien County. The National Board will issue grants to local organizations which are recommended for funding by the local board.

To receive basic program information and application, visit www.uwsm.org/efsp.