Local agencies can apply for funds to help with food, shelter

 In an attempt by Congress to expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas throughout the country, Alamance County has been chosen to receive $104,086 for emergency food and shelter programs.

These funds have been awarded under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program, which is lead by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Alamance County United Way has received a steady stream of funds throughout the years from the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program, most recently in 2008 with $87,495, and will distribute this money to emergency food and shelter programs run by local service organizations in Alamance County.

A local board will determine how the awarded funds will be distributed to these organizations.

Under the terms of the National Board’s grant, the Alamance County organizations chosen to receive funds must be private voluntary nonprofits or units of government that have demonstrated the ability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs.

Previously, Alamance County has distributed Emergency Food and Shelter Funds to a large array of organizations responsible for providing meals and lodging, helping with rent and mortgage payments, and providing families help with utilities.

These organizations include the Alamance County Community Services Agency, Alamance County Meals on Wheels, Allied Churches of Alamance County, Family Abuse Services, Loaves & Fishes Christian Food Ministry, the Manasseh & Ephraim Transition Home for Men, Residential Treatment Services, and The Salvation Army.

The Alamance County Community Services Agency is an organization that has both received these funds in the past and is part of the local board in determining the other organizations receiving the funding.

The funds help ACCSA with rent assistance, food, emergency funding, and utilities.

Tony Roper, ACCSA executive director, says the most important way this funding is utilized is through rental and mortgage assistance.

As part of the local board, ACCSA will determine what organizations receive the funding based on the amount of money given, merit, and work accomplished seen in their proposals for the funding.

“I encourage people to apply,” Roper said. “We know funds go directly to the individual.”

Like ACCSA, Family Abuse Services of Alamance County, Inc. has both received this funding in the past and is on the local board for determining other Alamance organizations that will receive it.

A domestic violence agency that runs a shelter for women and their families, Family Abuse Services usually serves 12 to 13 people a day; sometimes as many as seven to 10 of them are children, said Executive Director Sam Parker.

“(The funds) are used to protect the safety of families,” Parker said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

The funds mainly go toward running the shelter, according to Parker.

As part of the local board, Parker feels as though the allocation of these funds to organizations in Alamance County is crucial.

Public or private voluntary organizations interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact Ruth Pruitt at the United Way for an application (438-2000). The deadline for applications is Friday, January 30, 2009.

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