United Way of Central Carolinas to manage and distribute funds to local agencies


Mecklenburg County has been awarded $292,696 to supplement local emergency food and shelter efforts to support people in need during these continued challenging times.


The funds were awarded through the State Set-Aside (SSA) process under Phase 38 of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), a federally funded program intended to help meet the needs of people experiencing hunger and homelessness in cities and counties throughout the United States. The program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


Congress appropriated $120 million to supplement and expand emergency food and shelter programs. With the receipt of the $120 million for use in FY 2020 (Phase 38), the EFSP National Board has again reserved a portion of the funds for the SSA process. This funding is allocated to eligible jurisdictions and managed by a local board.


“As in prior years, Mecklenburg County did not automatically qualify for EFSP funding, which is awarded using a formula created by federal regulation. United Way of Central Carolinas submitted a request for the State Set-Aside funds, helping state decision-makers understand the full scope of Mecklenburg County’s need for emergency food and shelter services – a need heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kathryn Firmin-Sellers, chief impact officer at United Way of Central Carolinas.


In Mecklenburg County, an EFSP Local Board facilitated by United Way of Central Carolinas will determine how the funds will be distributed to area service providers of emergency food and shelter programs in the county.


EFSP funds must be used to supplement food and shelter services and may not be used as seed money for new programs. Agencies may receive funds to provide food, shelter and supportive services, including, but not limited to:


  • Food services, such as congregate meals or groceries
  • Lodging in a mass shelter, or in a hotel/motel or other off-site shelter facility limited to 30-days assistance per individual or household
  • One month rent or mortgage assistance to prevent eviction or foreclosure
  • Utility assistance for one month of service for gas, electric and water service
  • Supplies, including but not limited to cleaning supplies, and small equipment essential to feed or shelter people, not exceeding $300 per item
  • Administrative funding, if approved by the local EFSP board


To be eligible for local EFSP funding, organizations must be a private, voluntary nonprofit or a unit of government; be eligible to receive federal funds; have an accounting system; practice non-discrimination; demonstrate the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs; and, if a private voluntary organization, must have a voluntary board.


Qualifying Mecklenburg County organizations interested in applying should contact Beth Reichert at breichert@uwcentralcarolinas.org to request an application. Completed applications must be emailed to Beth Reichert no later than noon on Thursday, February 18, 2021.