Local organizations that help feed and shelter Coffee Countians in need residents may qualify for federal funding from the Department of Homeland Security, according to local United Way officials.

The county has been awarded $22,110 from the DHS Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program (EFSP) under Phase 36.

The funds are specifically designed to supplement and expand emergency food and shelter programs. The award amount is based on the jurisdiction’s total number of unemployed residents as compared to the total number of people unemployed in all qualifying jurisdictions.

The county previously received EFSP funds in 2017 during Phase 35, according to Jennifer Neel, executive director of United Way of Highway 55.

The organizations that have previously received EFSP funds include the Coffee County Schools Family Resource Center, Highland Hills Church of Christ, Manchester City Schools, Tullahoma City Schools and Shepherd’s House.

A local board made up of representatives from Coffee County municipalities, United Way and helping agencies will determine how the funds awarded to the county food and shelter programs. The local board is also responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds available under this phase of the program.

The EFSP funds are always of “great help to the community,” according to Neel.

“The local school systems have used the funds to provide emergency housing (hotels), rental and mortgage payment assistance and food to families in need,” she said. “The funds have also helped offset the daily costs for our only homeless shelter in Coffee County, Shepherd’s House. If an agency is willing to keep up with the paperwork and required reports, this funding is a great resource to help families in need in our community.”

Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must meet certain requirements for eligibility.

Agencies are required to be private, voluntary nonprofit organizations or units of governments; be eligible to receive federal funds; have an accounting system; practice nondiscrimination; have a program in current operation with demonstrated capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter services; provide a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and valid email address for the agency representatives; and, if the organization is a private nonprofit, have a voluntary board.

Qualifying agencies are urged to apply. The deadline for application is Friday, Aug. 23.

Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for EFSP funds should contact Jennifer Neel at United Way of Highway 55 for an application. She can be reached at jneel@highway55unitedway.org.

Erin McCullough may be reached at emccullough@tullahomanews.com.