Suffolk will receive annual funds to help the city’s needy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Suffolk’s check is in the mail for its annual allocation to help feed and shelter the city’s hungry and homeless, local officials learned Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes announced that the Emergency Food and Shelter (EFS) program awarded Suffolk $28,365 in federal funds. The money will be allocated to local social services agencies.

Email newsletter signup

According to Christine Bishop, a Suffolk Social Services official who sits on the local EFS board, the city receives the funds annually to benefit programs administered by The STOP Organization, Salvation Army, St. Timothy Baptist Church, FoodBank, Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless, and United Way.

&uot;It will basically sustain what we’re doing,&uot; explained Bishop.

Traditionally, the money has paid for shelter related expenses including supplies and food.

&uot;With a cold front moving into the area, I’m hopeful this grant will raise awareness of the need to help the hungry and homeless especially during the holiday season,&uot; said Forbes. &uot;Across the country there are individuals that have dedicated hours to meet the needs of those less fortunate than themselves.

This grant will provide them with additional resources to continue their generosity and compassion.&uot;

The EFS National Board, which selects grant recipients, is chaired by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and composed of representatives from American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; United Jewish Communities; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.; The Salvation Army; and United Way of America.

The program provides supplemental funding to shelters, soup kitchens, and food banks.

One-month awards for rent, mortgage, and utility assistance are also available.

The funds are used to help individuals and families with non-disaster, temporary emergency needs.

In each funded jurisdiction, a local board advertises the availability of the funds, establishes local priorities, selects local non-profit and government agencies to receive supplemental funding, and monitors program compliance.

The local board’s composition mirrors the EFS program national board, with a local government official replacing FEMA and board members voting to select their chair.

The EFS Program has been in existence since 1983 and was authorized under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987.

The EFS Program has provided for millions of additional meals and nights of shelter to the hungry and homeless most in need across the nation.