Emergency Food & Shelter Program

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 earmarked 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.

EFsp funding for agencies

Notice is hereby given to all interested parties that the Mercer County Local EFSP Board will accept applications from local agencies and/or organizations for funding of (1)emergency food, (2)shelter, (3)utilities, and (4)rent/mortgage assistance. Funding is for eligible agencies only, not individuals or families. This is not FEMA funding for disaster relief.
Please note: EFSP funding is only for eligible organizations, not for individuals or families. Do not call or apply unless you are an agency.
Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local government or private voluntary organizations chose to receive funds must: (1) be nonprofit, (2) have an accounting system, (3) practice nondiscrimination, (4) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and (5) if they are a voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary board.  Qualifying organizations are urged to apply. 
Please follow the instructions carefully. APPLICATIONS ARE DUE  BY FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2021 AT 1:00PM (NO EXCEPTIONS)
Letters will be sent to all applicants indicating the decision of the Board.  Applicants awarded funding will be notified that the amount designated for their program is subject to the appeals hearings.  

Appeals Process 

Applicants denied funding will be given the opportunity to file a written “Letter of Appeal."  The appeals committee will convene virtually via Zoom.  Appellants will be notified in writing via email, regarding the decision by the appeal board. 
The final recommendations of the Board, based on the appeals decision will be transmitted to all awardees.  The Local Board’s final report to the National EFSP Board will be filed, in accordance with the guidelines.  
An agency filing an appeal should follow the aforementioned written procedures.  An appeal should include the basis for the appeal, such as correction of erroneous application information, provision of information not previously available, or allegations of bias, fraud, abuse, or violation of federal or National Board guidelines.
The first level of appeal is with the Local Board.  The National Board only considers appeals when there is a significant question of misapplied guidelines, fraud, or other abuse on the part of the Local Board.
Agencies may not appeal to the requirements stated on the LRO Certification Form.  Agencies must meet these requirements to be considered for funding.
The Mercer County Local Board Appeals Committee will consist of staff and board members of the United Way of Greater Mercer County who were not part of the board who made the original allocation decisions, as suggested by the National Board.
PHASE 38 Appeal Timeline
  • Appeal Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2021
  • The Decision of Appeal:: Thursday, February 25, 2021

For more information please contact

John Santana at john.santana@uwgmc.org or call 609-896-1912 ext. 4918 (Leave a message)

Mercer County EFSP Local Board 598800
United Way of Greater Mercer County
Crossraods Corporate Center
3150 Brunswick Pike, STE 230
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648