April 09, 2009

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Nearly $150,000 in Economic Recovery Act Funding for Emergency Food and Shelter Program in North Country

Funding Will Help Provide Shelter, Food for the Hungry Through Pantries and Food Banks, Rental, Mortgage and Utility Payments and Transition Assistance From Shelters To Stable Living Conditions

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will allocate a total of $145,225 to six counties throughout North Country for emergency assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)'s Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP). EFSP funds can be used for a broad range of services, including mass shelter, mass feeding, food distribution through food pantries and food banks, one-month assistance with rent, mortgage and utility payments to prevent evictions, and transition assistance from shelters to stable living conditions. The funding is part of a total of $5,290,000 for New York State and an additional $307,271 for the State Set-Aside Program to serve NY areas in need that do not qualify based on regular FEMA standards.

"During these tough economic times, funding this program will give needed food and shelter assistance to struggling families across the North Country," Schumer said. "Increasing access to shelter, food and housing assistance will help keep many Upstate New York families afloat during these tumultuous times. These funds are a prime example of what the Recovery Act can do and one of the many reasons I fought so hard to pass the package.  During this season it is more important than ever to feed the hungry and house our most vulnerable families."

"During these tough economic times, it's important that we maintain a support system for the New York families who need it most," said Senator Gillibrand. "Food and housing assistance programs are a lifeline for many families in the North Country. These federal dollars provide food for their tables and a roof over their heads. I will continue to work with Senator Schumer and the New York Congressional Delegation to ensure New York continues to receive these critical funds."

The Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program was created in 1983 to supplement the work of local social service organizations within the United States, both private and governmental, to help people in need of emergency assistance. This collaborative effort between the private and public sectors has provided over $3.3 billion in Federal funds during its 26-year history.

EFSP uses measures of unemployment and poverty to allocate the funds it receives from FEMA to city and county jurisdictions around the country. To serve areas in need that do not qualify based on this formula, the National Board established the State Set-Aside Program in 1987 to award additional funds to each state based on a number of extenuating variables, including recent spikes in unemployment and isolated pockets of homelessness or poverty, among others.

EFSP funds can be used for a broad range of services, including mass shelter, mass feeding, food distribution through food pantries and food banks, one-month assistance with rent, mortgage and utility payments to prevent evictions, and transition assistance from shelters to stable living conditions. EFSP's objectives are to allocate funds to the neediest areas; to ensure fast response; to foster public-private sector partnerships; to ensure local decision-making; and to maintain minimal but accountable reporting.

The funding will be allocated as follows: 

  • Clinton County will receive $28,822
  • Essex County will receive $13,801
  • Franklin County will receive $17,418
  • Jefferson County will receive $36,296
  • Lewis County will receive $9,486
  • St. Lawrence County will receive $39,402

Today's ARRA funds come in addition to FEMA's $200 million annual FY 09 allocation announced in December.