East Baton Rouge Parish is receiving more than $150,000 in federal funds to help local emergency food and shelter programs, although the money is coming in later than it ordinarily arrives each year, according to local officials who manage food and shelter programs.
The chairman of the local board that will distribute the money, Michael Acaldo, said he got word late last week the funds, which Baton Rouge first received in 1983, will be deposited Friday.
Acaldo is executive director of St. Vincent de Paul. Most years, local officials are notified early in the calendar year of the money’s availability, he said.
Ten emergency food and shelter programs received funding last year from this annual grant distributed through Emergency Food and Shelter National Board; the delays this year have forced those agencies to stretch their budgets, Acaldo said.
“I have been getting questions like you wouldn’t believe,” Acaldo said.
Agencies seeking funding have to reapply each year.
The funding comes from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, which is an arm of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The money is used to supplement food, shelter, rent, mortgage and utility assistance programs for people with nondisaster-related emergencies.
The funding is one of several domestic spending programs that have been the subject of infighting in Washington, D.C., since Republicans took control of the House in January 2011.
Congress cut funding for the program from $200 billion to $120 billion in fiscal year 2011-12 and the fighting delayed release of the money for months. For 2012-13, funding remains at $120 billion and this year’s release was delayed as well.
The Emergency Food and Shelter National Board has representatives from national charitable and relief organizations, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Jewish Communities, United Way of America, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and Catholic Charities.
Local groups chosen to receive the money must be nonprofit, have an annual accounting system, conduct an annual audit, practice non-discrimination and have demonstrated an ability to deliver emergency food or shelter services.
Information and guidelines can be found at http://www. efsp.unitedway.org.
Proposals can be mailed to East Baton Rouge Parish Emergency Food and Shelter Board, P.O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.