Emergency Food and Shelter Program

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) was created in 1983 to supplement and expand the work of local social service agencies, both nonprofit and governmental, in an effort to help people with economic emergencies (not disaster-related i.e. fires of any kind, floods, tornadoes, etc. emergencies). Therefore, EFSP funds are not to be used to provide emergency assistance for circumstances that are the immediate result of a disaster situation. EFSP funds may be used to provide economic assistance in the long term, even if the current circumstances may have been impacted by an earlier disaster occurrence. The EFSP funding is open to all organizations helping hungry and homeless people.

EFSP funds must be used to supplement feeding, sheltering (including transitional sheltering), and rent/mortgage and utility assistance efforts only.

EFSP is governed by a National Board that selects jurisdictions for funding. Local Boards are convened in those qualifying jurisdictions to determine the highest need and best use of funds and to select Local Recipient Organizations (LROs) that will provide emergency food and shelter services. Each year, needs are to be assessed in an effort to respond to changes in the community.

A Local Board made up of representatives from the Red Cross, Catholic Charities, City Manager & County Judge’s offices, Ouachita Children’s Center, Protestant Churches, Salvation Army, Jewish Foundations of North America, United Way, and Veterans Organizations will determine how funds awarded to Garland County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area and recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds available under this phase of the program.

Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must: 1) be private voluntary non-profits or units of government, 2) be eligible to receive federal funds, 3) have an accounting system, 4) practice nondiscrimination, 5) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 6) if they are a private voluntary organization, have a voluntary board. Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.

Garland County has distributed Emergency Food and Shelter funds previously with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, The Salvation Army, and Ouachita Children’s Center participating. These agencies were responsible for providing utility assistance, meals, and lodging to individuals and families.