Collins: State to get $815,000 for food, shelter programs

Posted Jan. 03, 2010, at 9:40 p.m.

WASHINTON, D.C. — Maine will receive nearly $815,000 in federal funds under the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has announced.

The $814,937 will be distributed through counties to local community programs.

Counties in northern and coastal Maine will receive the following funds:

· Aroostook County, $52,442.

· Knox County, $23,573.

· Penobscot County, $94,455.

· Piscataquis County, $13,693.

· Somerset County, $40,945.

· Waldo County, $24,789.

· Washington County, $24,315.

“The Emergency Food and Shelter Program is truly a model program for bringing together nonprofit groups at the federal and local level and it quickly and effectively provides services to those in need,” Collins said in a press release issued Saturday.

“Each year, this program helps families throughout Maine and across America who are at risk of losing their homes or going hungry because of circumstances beyond their control,” she continued.

“This program is successful because it gives communities the flexibility to determine how best to spend these resources and assist families with the greatest need,” she said.

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency within the Department of Homeland Security. Collins is a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which has jurisdiction over FEMA.

The funds provided to the 25-year-old Emergency Food and Shelter Program are distributed by a national board according to a formula, which includes unemployment and poverty statistics in each county, according to Collins’ press release.

Many communities use the funds to supplement the efforts of local soup kitchens, Meals on Wheels programs and local food pantries.

The money also is used to address emergency shelter and housing needs.

The funds, according to information on FEMA’s Web site, may be used to provide food, lodging, one month’s rent, mortgage or utility bill payments, and transportation costs associated with the provision of food or shelter.

Funds also may be used by shelters and soup kitchens to buy supplies and equipment and for repairs to fix building code violations or to make buildings wheelchair-accessible.

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