Several regional emergency food and shelter programs will receive a boost this year, thanks to a nearly $88,500 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Almost annually, FEMA provides funds through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to Community Action of Southern Kentucky, which then distributes the funds to nonprofits, government organizations and any other organization eligible to receive federal funds in the region.

This year, the federal agency selected Allen, Hart, Logan, Simpson and Warren counties for the grant based on population, poverty and employment data.

“Funding like this is important,” said Leslie Talley, CEO of Community Action of Southern Kentucky. “It helps agencies support folks in our community facing a crisis (and) it allows us to help more families in the community and stabilize their situation.”

The program was designed to address hunger and homelessness. While there is not a specific homeless shelter in each county, the funds can help people avoid homelessness.

Specifically, eligible organizations – which have to apply for the grant by July 16 – use the funds to support residents in their respective counties with monthly rent, mortgage and utility bills, as well as food pantries and meal services.

In previous years, Barren River Area Safe Space, Concerned Citizens of Logan County and the Russellville-based Jesus Community Center have used the grant. Any nonprofit offering hunger and homeless services is welcome to apply, Talley said.

A FEMA-chaired national board, with representatives from the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, the Jewish Federations of North America, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, the Salvation Army and United Way Worldwide, sets the program’s policies, procedures and guidelines, according to FEMA.

The Trump administration proposed elimination of the program in the 2018 and 2019 presidential budgets, according to FEMA, but the first-of-its-kind program focused on federal assistance to homeless populations avoided the cutting board.

“We’re thankful when funding becomes available because it allows us to help more families in the community,” Talley said.

– Follow reporter Caroline Eggers on Twitter @eggersdailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.

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