More federal money is headed Pulaski County’s way for the purpose of helping those in need.

Emergency food and shelter programs will receive more than $34,000 by way of a grant of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)-controlled money.

Pam Cate, who chairs the local Emergency Food and Shelter board, noted that the money is nothing new — it’s been directed to Pulaski County regularly each year since 1984.

“It’s been as much as $50,000 or $60,000,” she said of past years’ totals. In recent years, however, the amount received by Pulaski County has fallen down to as low as approximately $28,000 before this year’s $34,089. Close to $850,000 has been received by the county in the 30 years Pulaski has participated.

The selection was made by a national board which is chaired by the Department of Homeland Security's FEMA and consists of representatives from the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, United Jewish Communities, Catholic Charities, USA Nation Council of the Church of Christ and United Way of America.

Locally, the board of which Cate is a part will help determine how the money will be distributed to best help the community. The board is made up of representatives from United Way of South Central Kentucky, Somerset City Government, Pulaski County Government, Somerset/Pulaski County Ministerial Association, the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross, and is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds available under this phase of the program.

“Historically, the board has voted to disperse the money to the Bethany House, PERM (Pulaski Emergency Relief Ministry), God’s Food Pantry and Potentials, Inc.,” said Cate. “Those are agencies that address emergencies to keep people from becoming homeless.”

Cate noted that some may hear about the grant and assume it has something to do with the recent forum on homelessness held in Somerset, which involved numerous local agencies discussing solutions to that issue, but Cate observed that the grant has been around much longer than that recent community focus, and also that it’s difficult to make specific plans, such as funding a possible shelter, on an uncertain timetable.

“I don’t want people to think this is seed money for us to build something or get it started,” she said. “Even though they announced the award, it might be six months before we get it. (The government) takes their time.”

Under the terms of the grant from the national board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must:

• be private, voluntary non-profits or units of government;

• have an accounting system;

• practice nondiscrimination;

• have demonstrated the capacity to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs; and

• if they are a private voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary board.

Local agencies that have previously received money were responsible for providing thousands of meals and nights of lodging in addition to utility assistance over the past year in Pulaski County.

Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact Pam Cate, EFSP Chairperson, PO Box 1261, Somerset, Ky., 42502 or call 606-423-4655 for more information.  Interested agencies may also learn more about the Emergency Food and Shelter Program at www.efsp.unitedway.org.

The deadline for the receipt of applications is Friday, March 20, 2015.

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