The local agencies selected to receive federal funds for emergency food and shelter assistance should receive their first checks later this month, the executive director of the United Way of Douglas County said today.
Barbara Smith, executive director, said Douglas County was awarded $31,017 in federal funds to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the area. A local board made up representatives from the United Way, Douglas County government, Catholic Social Services of Lawrence, the Jewish Community Center, American Red Cross and the Salvation Army decided in December which agencies would receive funding.
First Step House, Headquarters, the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen, Women's Transitional Care Services and the Salvation Army, representing itself and other agencies of the Emergency Services Council, will receive the federal funding available for the county, Smith said.
FIRST STEP House, an agency that serves chemically dependent women and their children, requested $5,200 and will receive $2,600. Headquarters, a 24-hour crisis intervention center, requested $2,500 and will receive $1,800. LINK, a volunteer group that provides meals for people in need, requested $1,700 and will receive $1,500. Women's Transitional Care Services, an agency that provides services for battered women and their children, requested $6,180 and will receive $3,290.
The Salvation Army, in conjunction with the other agencies of the Emergency Services Council, requested the entire amount of the funding available and will receive $21,827.
Smith said the agencies will receive the funding in two checks. The first check, she said, should be available by the middle of this month. Once the agencies spend that money, they will be eligible for the second round of funding, Smith said.
THE FEDERAL government bases the aid on population and unemployment rates, Smith said.
"This is the 10th year they have done it," she said. "It came in response to the homeless and the hungry."
Smith said Douglas County has received about the same amount of money each year, but she said it's never certain what will be available. Once the federal government makes the money available, the local board has 25 days to advertise that the funding is available and make a decision about which agencies will receive it.
"It's always difficult to have the applications and hear what the needs are and then try to determine how the money will be distributed," Smith said. "You want to be able to fund everything and it's just not possible."
TO BE eligible for funding, the agencies that apply must serve a population that the government recognizes as homeless. For example, the federal government considers chemically dependent women in treatment programs as homeless and battered women and their children in shelters as homeless.
Smith said First Step House will use its part of the funding to buy food; Headquarters to subsidize its program and provide food for the homeless when needed; LINK for supplies needed to serve meals; the Salvation Army and other ESC agencies for food, food vouchers and rent and utility assistance.