The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Emergency Management Agency has awarded $64,847 to Licking County to supplement emergency food and shelter programs within the county.
These funds from the agency's Emergency Food and Shelter Program, however, aren't for the holidays as much as they're for winter survival, according to a local nonprofit's director.
"We're thrilled to get this much," said Licking County United Way Community Impact Director Sylvia Friel, who also is the local EFSP board chairwoman.
"Our community will have no trouble spending it."
According to a news release, a local board would determine how to distribute the funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in the county.
Programs given priority status will be those that offer emergency shelter, rent/mortgage assistance, utility assistance or food assistance to those in need in Licking County.
Under the terms of the grant from the national board, local award recipients must meet seven criteria.
They must be voluntary private nonprofits or units of government, be eligible to receive federal funds, have an accounting system, practice nondiscrimination, have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, have a voluntary board if they are a private voluntary organization and provide services and use other agency resources in the area in which they are seeking funding.
Friel said the local board would consist of representatives from the United Way, the Salvation Army, the Emergency Management Agency, the Red Cross, Catholic Social Services, Job and Family Services, Licking County commissioners and Protestant churches.
She said Mental Health America and the Pathways program also would have local representatives, even though they are not mandated to be on the board, and the local board would include a homeless advocate.
Friel said that last year, five agencies and six programs qualified for funding, including the Licking County Food Pantry, LEADS and the Coalition of Care, among others.
Two years ago, the federal government awarded Licking County roughly $112,000, but that amount plummeted to roughly $21,000 last year, she said.
"It can fluctuate depending upon community need," she said.
This year, with $64,847 available, Friel predicts six agencies and maybe eight programs would receive funding.
According to the release, qualifying agencies are urged to apply for the funds by calling Friel at 740-345-6685 for an application. The deadline for applications to be received is noon, Dec. 17.
Friel said the funds likely would not be available in time for the holidays.
"Our agencies aren't sitting on pots of money," she said.
The timing is good, though, in that the funds should be available for assistance during the coming winter months, Friel said.
She said individuals seeking assistance should not call the United Way directly, but instead should call the agency or agencies that already are providing them assistance. The funding is not for new assistance, she said. It's to supplement assistance that already is being provided.
Friel said the local board would ensure that funding is distributed as evenly as possible throughout the county.
"We try to balance it out," she said.