Fema Aids Emergency Programs

Food And Shelter Providers Hope To Get About $15,000

November 03, 1991|By Cindy Parr | Cindy Parr,Contributing writer

Carroll's Human Services Programs Inc. is expected to receive this month part of an estimated $134 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for emergency food and shelter programs.

"The funding we will receive from the FEMA program will be used to supplement other programs, such as our local Emergency Assistance and Energy Assistance programs," said Kelly Parrish, assistant director of Human Services Programs.

Congress is expected to appropriate the estimated $134 million inFEMA funding by the second week in November, with smaller jurisdictions like Carroll County receiving their share of the money as soon asThanksgiving, said Tracy Haynes, an emergency management specialist for FEMA.

"We urge all qualifying organizations to apply to the local board to be considered for the funds that we will receive," Parrish said. "We have not received the allocation as of yet, but I am assuming we will at least get the same amount as we did last year."

In fiscal 1991, Carroll's Human Services Programs received $15,434 in FEMA funds.

Human Services Programs is one of 10,000 provider organizations and 2,300 jurisdictions throughout the United States selected to receive the federal money.

Since 1983, FEMA has been allocating dollars to supplement programs designed to provide a few extra meals and a few nights' lodging to people in need.

"This is one of the best programs offered by the federal government because it bypasses state and local government and gives the money directly to the local agencies," Haynes said.

"Only 2 percent of the money can be usedfor administrative costs, which is unusual for a government program," Haynes said.

"Last year, Carroll County Food Sunday received $1,000, while $6,000 was used for utility bills and another $8,145 went to rent or mortgage assistance due to eviction or foreclosure problems," Parrish said.

"The remaining $289 was used for administrative costs, such as postage, paper and envelopes."

Parrish said the infusion of federal dollars was sorely needed.

"Our local Emergency Assistance program has been in the red since July 1991," said Parrish."We receive a monthly allotment from the county for $5,750, but we have been using more than that since July.

"We have used this moneyto pay for people's utilities who have been informed that their utilities will be turned off," Parrish said. "We have also paid a portionof people's back rent when they have received an eviction notice."

Parrish said FEMA is a stand-alone program that meets the same typeof needs as do the county programs.

Money from FEMA also has beenused to subsidize the county's federally funded Energy Assistance program, which helps eligible individuals with their heating costs.

For eight years, a national board, composed of affiliates from voluntary organizations and chaired by FEMA, has evaluated each jurisdiction on the basis of unemployment, population and poverty statistics foreach area.

The board then designates an amount for each jurisdiction and distributes the money to a local board.

"A local board in Carroll County, comprised of private, non-profit organizations, receives the funds and evaluates and discusses the needs in that specific area," said Haynes.

"Ultimately, they will choose the specific food and shelter needs."

Members of the local board in Carroll Countyinclude representa

tives from Human Services Programs, the Salvation Army, Carroll County Food Sunday, the Springfield Hospital Center, Carroll County Bank and Trust Co., the city of Westminster and an appointee from the county commissioners.

Under the terms of the grant from the national board, local government or private voluntary organizations chosen to receive FEMA money must:

* Be non-profit.

* Have an accounting system and conduct an annual audit.

* Practice non-discrimination.

* Have demonstrated the ability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs.

* Have a voluntary board ifthey are a private voluntary organization.

For information on theprogram, contact Sylvia Canon, executive director of Human Services Programs, at 857-2999.

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