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 www.efsp.unitedway.org 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 www.efsp.unitedway.org.


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. FeedMore of WNY acts as the fiscal conduit for agencies who secure food-related dollars and Belmont Housing Resources for WNY acts as the fiscal conduit for those agencies securing shelter dollars.



Who can apply?

Eligible applicants must:

  1. be nonprofit;
  2. be eligible to receive federal funds; 
  3. have an accounting system or an approved fiscal agent;
  4. conduct an independent annual audit if receiving $100,000 or more in EFSP funds/conduct an annual review if receiving $50,000 to $99,999 in EFSP funds;
  5. practice non-discrimination;
  6. have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and shelter services;
  7. have a voluntary board;
  8. have the capacity to either chargeback or expend funding during the jurisdiction’s selected spending period;
  9. must be able to completely and accurately obtain, retain and submit required documentation with reports; use DocuSign and online reporting.

Applications are being accepted for EFSP Phase 40 in Erie County. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, January 18, 2023. 

The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County is accepting applications for Phase 40 of the Emergency Food and Shelter Funds available through Local Advisory Board of the EFSP.  This program provides federal assistance to supplement emergency food and shelter services in Buffalo & Erie County. The deadline for submission of completed applications is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

Erie County was awarded $364,396 for Phase 40.

The spending period for Phase 40 is from November 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023.

To access the allocation information, click Phase 40 Allocations
To access the Phase 40 application, click here.
Please continue to check the EFSP website for updates.



***Please continue to check the EFSP website for updates.