PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island was awarded $624,045 in federal funding to supplement the state’s emergency food and shelter programs.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program will support the state’s social service agencies and food pantries by providing food, rent and utility assistance to those faced with non-disaster related emergencies.
“Our state was hit hard by the recent recession, and too many Rhode Island families are still struggling to make ends meet,” U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said in a statement. “These funds will go to the local agencies and community nonprofits 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.”
Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds, which are appropriated under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, were first authorized by Congress in 1983
The program is designed to give communities flexibility in determining how best to direct resources and assist families with the greatest need.
Providence County is being awarded $386,282 in EFSP funding and $237,763 will be granted to the R.I. State Set-Aside Committee, which can award money to additional communities throughout Rhode Island.
According to a release, in each community receiving federal money, a local board advertises the availability of funding, establishes priorities, selects local nonprofit or government organizations that need the money and ensures that all groups are in compliance.
“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,” U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin said in a statement.
“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,” added Langevin.
Since its inception in 1983, more than $3.8 billion in federal aid from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program has been awarded nationwide.