MT. VERNON — The United Way of South Central Illinois as received $17,636 in emergency food and shelter funds for Jefferson County.
The federal funds will be awarded to organizations based on applications to the local board, made up of the United Way, Red Cross, Catholic Social Services, Salvation Army, area church representatives and local government officials.
“Two years ago, we didn’t get anything for the program because of budget cuts from Congress,” said Rhonda Edmonson, executive director of United Way. “We didn’t qualify for the funds because they increased the requirements.”
The National Board’s formula determination and awards process run alongside the Federal grant award process following the appropriation of funds by Congress. Congress appropriated a total of $114,805,031 to supplement and expand emergency food and shelter programs across the U.S.
Last year, the United Way did received funds, which were distributed to four local agencies — Park Avenue Food Pantry, which provides emergency food to residents; Angels on Assignment for emergency rent and utility assistance; and Lifeboat Alliance, which provides emergency shelter assistance.
“This year we have slightly more to give,” Edmonson said. “We want to make sure the community is served well in these areas. Last year, those were the only four organizations which applied for the funds. The biggest need we have is organizations
willing to help with rent and utility assistance. That process is a little complicated, so volunteer organizations tend to shy away from that. As a board, organizations in that area will receive priority funding.”
To apply for the funding, local agencies must be private, voluntary non-profit or units of government; be eligible to receive federal funds; have an accounting system, practice non-discrimination; have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food or shelter services; and have a voluntary board.
Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact Edmonson at the United Way of South Central Illinois at 242-8000 for an application. The final deadline for applications will be Jan. 20.