Dougherty receives emergency food and shelter funds

ALBANY -- Officials with the United Way of Southwest Georgia announced that federal funds are now available to organizations assisting the needy.

Dougherty County has received $61,046 in federal funding under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program, which has been awarded to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.

Now United Way is looking for agencies to take the money.

"This is the time of year we are gathering applications," said Lorraine Alexander, emergency food and shelter coordinator for the organization.

The selection was made by a national board that is chaired by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, The Jewish Federations of North America, The Salvation Army and United Way Worldwide.

A local board made up of Dougherty County residents will determine how the funds are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by service agencies in the area. The board is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds available under this phase of the program.

"The local board looks at the applications and then looks at the pot, and then they distribute the pot," Alexander explained. "There is a lot of reporting back and forth that needs to be done."

During its 27 years in operation, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program has disbursed more than $3.4 billion to more than 12,000 local providers in roughly 2,500 counties and cities.

The response by agencies is usually pretty good in Southwest Georgia, officials say.

"We are hoping to get people that have applied before," Alexander said. "We do get a good response; there is more and more of a need for it."

Funds have also been made available in six other counties -- Baker, Crisp, Lee, Mitchell, Terrell and Worth -- that fall under the United Way of Southwest Georgia umbrella.

Under the terms of the grant from the national board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must be private voluntary nonprofits or units of government, be eligible to receive federal funds, have an accounting system, practice non-discrimination, have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs and if they are a private voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary board.

Qualifying agencies are urged to apply. For an application, public or private voluntary agencies interested in receiving funds should contact United Way at (229) 883-6700.

The deadline for applications to be received is Friday, April 9.