The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP)
The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) was established on March 24, 1983, with the signing of the "Jobs Stimulus Bill," Public Law 98-8. That legislation created a National Board, chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that consisted of representatives of the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, The Jewish Federations of North America, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, The Salvation Army and United Way Worldwide.
The EFSP was authorized under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (P.L. 100-77 signed into law on July 24, 1987, since renamed the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and subsequently reauthorized under P.L. 100-628, signed into law on November 7, 1988). Since 1983, in its 38-year history, the EFSP will have distributed $5.03 billion to over 14,000 human service agencies in more than 2,500 communities across the country through this collaborative effort between the private and public sectors.
The original authorizing legislation (PL 100-77) specifically calls for "sensitivity to the transition from temporary shelter to permanent homes and attention to the specialized needs of homeless individuals with mental and physical disabilities and illness and to facilitate access for homeless individuals to other sources of services and benefits."
Also, in accordance with the legislation, the National Board encourages Local Boards, the decision-making local bodies, to place special emphasis on identification of and assistance to the elderly, families with children, Native Americans and Veterans. In addition, the authorization as revised (PL 102-550) in 1992 requires that a homeless or formerly homeless person serve on the Local Boards.
Howard County’s Local Board
Local Boards are convened in qualifying jurisdictions to determine the highest need and best use of funds and to select Local Recipient Organizations that will provide emergency food and shelter services. Each year, needs are to be assessed to respond to changes in the community.
Howard County’s Local Board meets at least semi-annually, and their responsibilities include:
- Electing Board Members and Board Chair for each Phase of funding
- Set funding priorities
- Review applications for funding
- Allocate funds to Local Recipient Organizations
- Address any grievances from applicants
The Department of Community Resources and Services, through it Office of Community Partnerships, is the contact and administrator for Howard County’s Local Board.
Office of Community Partnerships
Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services
9830 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, MD 21046
If you are experiencing homelessness or an immediate housing crisis, please contact Grassroots Crisis Intervention 24 HOUR CRISIS HOTLINE: 410-531-6677 (voice/relay)
Please contact Cara Baumgartner [email protected] for a WebEx invite to the Local Board meeting.