Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP)


The purpose of the EFSP is to supplement and expand existing food and shelter services available in local communities. It is a needs-based program and program dollars must not be ear-marked for particular clients.  Funding is meant to serve and benefit the entire community.  A complete copy of the annual program guidelines is available online at in the information section. 

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program was established on March 24, 1983, with the signing of the "Jobs Stimulus Bill," Public Law 98-8. The EFSP was authorized under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (P.L. 100-77 signed into law on July 24, 1987, since renamed the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and subsequently reauthorized under P.L. 100-628, signed into law on November 7, 1988). 

The program's objectives are to:

  • Allocate funds to the neediest areas;
  • Ensure fast response;
  • Foster public/private sector cooperation;
  • Ensure local decision making; and
  • Maintain minimal, but accountable, reporting.



A National Board, chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), consists 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.

For more information about the EFSP National Board, please visit



Each civil jurisdiction (a county or city) funded by the Emergency Food and Shelter program must constitute a local Emergency Food and Shelter board. The board must be composed of representatives of the same organizations as those on the national board - with a local government official replacing the FEMA representative. In Buffalo & Erie County, the local Emergency Food and Shelter Board is chaired by the President of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. The Food Bank of WNY acts as the Fiscal Conduit for agencies who secure food-related dollars and the American Red Cross acts as the Fiscal Conduit for those agencies securing shelter dollars. 



EFSP Phase 33 Funding Update (as of May 20, 2016) 

Phase 33 allocations have now been posted on the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) website, www.efsp.unitedway. org. Please click on the Phase 33 Awards tab to view allocations to qualifying jurisdictions and State Set-Aside Committees (SSAs). The official award announcement email is anticipated to be sent to qualifying jurisdictions and SSAs in the near future. 

Local Boards may now convene to begin their planning process, including advertisement of the availability of funds to the community. With the award announcements, the National Board will advise Local Boards of spending period extension options for Phase 33. Please remember, the National Board allows LROs to charge eligible, properly documented expenditures back to the beginning of the jurisdiction's spending period (one day after the end of the jurisdiction's Phase 32 spending period).

The National Board thanks you for the understanding and the patience you have shown. Please continue to check Latest News on the EFSP website homepage for the most recent program information.


Completed applications are due on or before June 27, 2016

Phase 33 Application

Phase 33 Deadlines



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