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FEMA Allocates $153 Million For Aid to Homeless:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced last week that federal funds totaling $153 million have been allocated to help feed and house the nation’s growing hungry and homeless population.

Of that amount, $5,937,157 has been allotted to the City and County of Los Angeles.

R. David Paulison, Acting Director of FEMA, said the funding was made available by Congress for the National Board of the Emergency Food and Shelter (EFS) Program to support social service agencies in more than 2,500 cities and counties across the country. EFS grant funds are used to supplement food, shelter, rent, mortgage and utility assistance programs for people with non-disaster related emergencies.

“On behalf of President Bush, I’m honored to extend the federal government’s helping hand to our nation’s most needy people,” Paulison said. “The dedicated members of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program again have successfully carried out this worthy mission. Homeland Security and FEMA are pleased that Congress has provided a necessary means to help our communities feed the hungry, assist the poor and shelter the homeless in the coming year.”

The EFS Program, entering its twenty-third year, is administered by a National Board of voluntary agencies chaired by FEMA. Member agencies of the National Board include American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Salvation Army; United Jewish Communities and United Way of America.

The National Board qualifies jurisdictions for annual EFS funding awards based on criteria involving current population, unemployment and poverty levels. Grants are awarded to non-profit community and government organizations that are chosen by local boards in the qualifying jurisdictions. In addition to direct funding awards, Paulison said eight percent of this year’s total EFS appropriation has been set aside by the National Board for state grants to aid the needy in non-qualifying jurisdictions.EFS funds were first authorized by Congress in 1983 and are currently appropriated annually under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Paulison noted that with the 2006 allocation, more than $2.8 billion in federal aid has been disbursed through the EFS Program since its inception.

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