Emergency Food & Shelter Program

Photo of an emergency shelter and food boxes


The Emergency Food and Shelter Program 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 40-year history, the EFSP will have distributed $6.158 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.


United Way of Washington County will administer Phase 41 of federal funds under the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) in the amount of $40,473.

Allocations to Local Recipient Organizations (LROs) will be determined through a competitive application process for Washington County nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and government agencies who are providing emergency services. 

To be eligible for EFSP funding, organizations must provide one or more of the following services (organizations may apply for more than one funding area):

  • Food (served meals, food vouchers, food pantries)
  • Shelter (mass shelter, motel vouchers)
  • Rent/Mortgage Assistance
  • Utility Assistance

EFSP Funds are supplemental and may not exceed 49% of a program budget. Funds are not intended to substitute for other program funds or to start new programs and are not to be held or reserved for future use. The spending period for Phase 41 will begin on October 1, 2022 and will end on December 31, 2024. 

Prior to submitting an application please review www.efsp.unitedway.org to familiarize yourself with funding guidelines, requirements, practices and reporting expectations. FUNDS GRANTED BUT NOT EXPENDED AND DOCUMENTED ACCORDING TO THE EFSP HANDBOOK GUIDELINES MUST BE RETURNED. Organizations with the GREATEST ability to maximize funding against program impact are preferred. Organizations with known EFSP compliance issues from any previous Phase may not apply for new funding until all compliance issues are resolved.

Applications were due electronically (kelli@uwwcmd.org) no later than 3:00 pm EDST Monday, April 8, 2024 and are now CLOSED.



  • Have 501 c3 status or be an agency of government;
  • Have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN);
  • Must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) - https://sam.gov
  • Maintain a checking account in the organization’s name for EFSP deposits 
  • All financial documents must be for the current or previous fiscal year.
  • Governed by a volunteer board of directors (nonprofits only);
  • Provide services guided by a non-discriminatory policy;
  • Programs must have a comparative amount of secured funding (51%+ of the program funding must come from a source other than the EFSP) to which they are leveraging EFSP funding;
  • Pay vendors directly within 90 days for services provided
  • Submit required reports

PLEASE NOTE: You will be required to submit a completed LRO Certification form for each phase. These forms will be made available upon acceptance of the Local Board Plan by the EFSP National Board. Once the awards are accepted, you will be required to complete the LRO Certification Form with your LRO number and your name AS IT APPEARS ON THE EFSP WEBSITE. Please visit the EFSP website to verify your number and organization name prior to submitting the form.

Due to this year's timeline United Way staff will be unable to provide additional time after application submission for applicants to clarify, complete or revise submissions. Submitted applications must meet the identified criteria and include the required attachments by the application deadline Monday, April 8, 2024, at 3:00pm EDST, to be considered for funding. Applications are now CLOSED.

EFSP funds are made available by the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA and are contingent upon the federal government's ability to pay.

Questions regarding the application process should be forwarded to Kelli Tencer, United Way of Washington County at kelli@uwwcmd.org