County to get federal food and shelter grant

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Charles County has been chosen to receive $46,666 by the State Set-Aside Committee under the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.

The selection was made by a national board that is chaired by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; the Jewish Federations of North America; The Salvation Army; and United Way Worldwide. The local board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.

A local EFSP board, which will include representatives of Charles County government and human service organizations, will determine how the funds awarded to the county are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run in the area.

The local board is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds available from the program.

Local organizations chosen to receive funds must be private voluntary nonprofits or units of government, be eligible to receive federal funds, have an accounting system, practice nondiscrimination, have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs and if they are a private voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary board.

Qualifying organizations are urged to apply.

The local board agreed that all funds would go toward program expenses, with nothing allocated for administrative allowance.

Charles County has distributed emergency food and shelter funds previously to Catholic Charities Angel's Watch Regional Shelter, Catholic Charities Charles County Family Center, Charles County Children's Aid Society, Charles County Department of Social Services, Christ Church Durham Parish, Wayside Food Bank, LifeStyles of Maryland Foundation, Neighbors Eager to Serve, St. Vincent de Paul Society and South Potomac Church.

These agencies were responsible for providing more than 5,918 meals, assisting 14 families with emergency rent/mortgagehelp, providing more than 1,281 bed nights of shelter and assisting 49 families with utility payments in 2009.

Public or private voluntary organizations interested in applying for funds must call Dorothy Harper, chairwoman of the Charles County Homeless and Emergency Shelter Committee, at 301-609-4844 or e-mail for an application. The deadline to apply is April 23.