Emergency Food and Shelter Program

February 2022

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) has allocated $481,860 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in Benton and Franklin Counties during Phases 39 and ARPA-R.

To be eligible to apply for this funding opportunity, an organization must:

  • Be a 501(c)(3) non-profit or agency in good standing with the IRS
  • Be eligible to receive Federal funds
  • Have an accounting system
  • Have a valid Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • Have a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number issued by Dun & Bradstreet
  • Practice non-discrimination (agencies with a religious affiliation, will not refuse service to a client based on religion, nor engage in religious proselytizing or religious counseling in any program receiving Federal funds)
  • Have the capacity to deliver emergency food and/or shelter services
  • Have a voluntary board that meets at least quarterly

Eligible organizations may request up to a maximum of $50,000 per organization per phase.

EFSP funds must be used to supplement or expand existing resources and programs. The food category is intended to allow agencies such as food pantries, food banks, and shelters to pay for the purchase of food items (including for served meals), food vouchers and food gift cards/certificates to assist in the feeding of eligible clients. The shelter category is intended to provide both on and off-site emergency shelter assistance. Offsite assistance is limited to 90 days assistance per individual or household during the current program period. Funds may also be used to pay up to three months of a household’s past-due rent or utility bill.

EFSP funds are distributed on a reimbursement basis and require specific documentation for proof of purchase; eligible expenses incurred between November 1, 2021 – April 23, 2023: are eligible for reimbursement.

Eligible items in food category:

  • All purchased food items (e.g. food purchased by a food bank)
  • Any food used in served meals (e.g. food purchased by a meal center)
  • Diapers and feminine hygiene products
  • Gift cards/certificates to grocery stores
  • Food vouchers
  • Boxes and plastic storage bags used to store and deliver food
  • Paper products (paper plates, towels, toilet tissue) used to serve meals
  • Items and utensils used to prepare food
  • Maintenance fees charged by food banks
  • Transportation costs for pickup and delivery of food, and for transporting clients to food distribution sites

Eligibility in shelter category:

  • Lodging charges from a hotel or motel
  • Lodging charges from a nonprofit facility acting as a vendor
  • Lodging stays up to a total of 90 days
  • Local taxes added to the bill
  • Certain transportation costs
  • Supplies essential to shelter individuals in a mass shelter (cots, mattresses, soap, linens, blankets, cleaning supplies. Limited amounts of personal care products and first aid supplies)

Eligibility in Rent/Mortgage Assistance:

  • Three months of past due balance of rent or mortgage per household per EFSP phase
  • Three months of current balance of rent or mortgage per household per EFSP phase
  • One payment of first month’s rent per household per EFSP phase

Eligibility in Utility Assistance:

  • Up to three past due utility bills or current utility bills per household per EFSP phase

Click here to view the Frequently Asked Questions about the EFSP program


The application window for Phase 39 and ARPA-R is now open. Applications must be submitted online no later than February 25, 2022 at 11:59pm.

To apply click here: https://agency.e-cimpact.com/login.aspx?org=51090U


The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) began in 1983 with a $50 million federal appropriation. The program was created by Congress to help meet the needs of hungry and homeless people throughout the United States and its territories by allocating federal funds for the provision of food and shelter.

The program is governed by a National Board composed of representatives of the American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; The Jewish Federations of North America; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Salvation Army; and United Way Worldwide. The national board is chaired by a representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

During its 37 years of operation, the national program has disbursed over $4.4 billion to over 14,000 local providers in more than 2,500 counties and cities.

Funds from EFSP are distributed to each county in the United States based on its current population size, unemployment rate, and poverty rate.

United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties facilitates a local board of community volunteers who decide how the funds from EFSP are distributed within Benton and Franklin Counties each year.

In 2019, more than $178,000 was distributed from EFSP to local food banks and crisis intervention centers in Benton and Franklin Counties to support emergency food for people in need.

For more information about EFSP, go to https://www.efsp.unitedway.org/efsp/website/index.cfm.


For more information about how to apply for EFSP funds in Benton and Franklin Counties, contact grants@uwbfco.org or call 509-581-3943.