Local agencies receive FEMA money for emergency food and shelter

Six Kingman organizations recently received a share of $66,685 allocated to Mohave County by the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.

"Funds are awarded to each area based on the unemployment figures," said Jerry Hill the Mohave County emergency management coordinator.

"It can be used only for food, meals, mass shelter, other shelter, rent or mortgage assistance, emergency repairs and utility assistance."

Five of the Kingman organizations – Salvation Army, Good Samaritan, Kingman Aid to Abused People, Kingman Area Food Bank and Kingman Resource Center – each received $3,801.05 for a total of $19,005.25.

Western Arizona Council of Governments, also located in Kingman, received $7,1444.82 for countywide use.

The county "out of area" (Grand Vista Inc., Hualapai Tribe and WACOG) allocation totaled $16,671.25.

Bullhead City has the highest unemployment figure and received the most assistance in the county - $21,505 - while Lake Havasu City received $9,502.

Hill said the funds are supplements for agencies that help people with economic emergencies, primarily with emergency food and shelter services.

Representatives of local non-profit emergency service agencies look through applications to determine needs within each area.

"They must fit in one of more category.

We can only allocate one organization within each," he said.

"We can't duplicate."

Created in 1983, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program has a national board with representatives from six non-profit agencies who work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Although the board members from the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, The Salvation Army, United Jewish Communities, United Way of America and the National Council of the Churches of Christ in U.S.A.

select the jurisdictions of highest need, and determine the amount to be distributed, the federal grant money comes from the FEMA, Hill said.

If grant money is not used during the funded year, the unused share is sent back, but that rarely happens, Hill added.

"We find in December how much, if any, funds we will receive," Hill said.

"It's not a given that we will receive any money."

Allocated by Congress to help the needy, money for the program could be coming from a different source soon.

Congress will soon vote on a proposal to transfer budgeting of funds for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program from FEMA to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to Sharon Bailey, vice president for Emergency Food and Shelter Program at United Way of America.