United Way of Northwest Louisiana announced that Caddo, Bossier, DeSoto and Natchitoches parishes have been awarded $227,630 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs.

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program is administrated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. Its funding began in 1983 and was created by Congress to help meet the immediate needs of hungry and homeless people throughout the United States by allocating federal funds for the provision of food and shelter.

Unlike FEMA’s better-known disaster assistance programs, these funds are designed to supplement and expand the ongoing work of local social service organizations, both nonprofit and governmental, to provide shelter, food and supportive services to individuals and families who have economic emergencies. The funding is awarded based upon the needs of the community, using federal data on population, poverty, food insecurity and other economic and social factors for each parish. The selection was made by a National Board that is chaired by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Jewish Federations of North America, The Salvation Army; and United Way Worldwide.

A local board distributes funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas. The board includes The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Catholic Social Services, United Christian Outreach, Jewish Federation and United Way of Northwest Louisiana  determines how the funds are distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies. 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. New qualifying agencies should apply at www.unitedwaynwla.org. The deadline for applications to be received is July 24, 2017. Download an application.