Emergency Food and Shelter Program

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The Emergency Food and Shelter Program was established on March 24, 1983, with the signing of the "Jobs Stimulus Bill," Public Law 98-8. That legislation created a National Board, chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that consisted of representatives of the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, The Jewish Federations of North America, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, The Salvation Army and United Way Worldwide.

The EFSP was authorized under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (P.L. 100-77 signed into law on July 24, 1987, since renamed the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and subsequently reauthorized under P.L. 100-628, signed into law on November 7, 1988). Since 1983, in its 40-year history, the EFSP will have distributed $5.03 billion to over 14,000 human service agencies in more than 2,500 communities across the country through this collaborative effort between the private and public sectors.

The original authorizing legislation (PL 100-77) specifically calls for "sensitivity to the transition from temporary shelter to permanent homes and attention to the specialized needs of homeless individuals with mental and physical disabilities and illness and to facilitate access for homeless individuals to other sources of services and benefits."

Also in accordance with the legislation, the National Board encourages Local Boards, the decision-making local bodies, to place special emphasis on identification of and assistance to the elderly, families with children, Native Americans and Veterans. In addition, the authorization as revised (PL 102-550) in 1992 requires that a homeless or formerly homeless person serve on the Local Boards.

The program's objectives are:

  • To allocate funds to the neediest areas.
  • To ensure fast response.
  • To foster public-private sector partnerships.
  • To ensure local decision-making.
  • To maintain minimal, but accountable, reporting.

San Luis Obispo County, CA

Phase 40

Funding Period: November 1, 2021 – December 31, 2023

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) was created to supplement and expand the work of local social service agencies in an effort to help people with economic emergencies. The program is governed by a National Board that selects jurisdictions for funding, and Local Boards are convened to determine the highest need and best use of funds. United Way of San Luis Obispo County serves on the Local Board as the administrator for EFSP in SLO County, alongside other local representatives from the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, Department of Social Services and the faith community.

San Luis Obispo County was awarded $89,465 in EFSP Phase 40 funding (November 1, 2021 – December 31, 2023).

Local Recipient Organizations (LRO) seeking forms or manuals should log in to their online account at efsp.unitedway.org.



All agencies participating in the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) must provide their Unique Entity Identifier (UEI).  Agencies applying for these federal funds must have a UEI. The National Board used the DUNS previously, but the DUNS is now obsolete and is not acceptable for entities receiving federal funding. The federal government stopped using the DUNS Number to uniquely identify entities. Now, entities doing business with the federal government or receiving federal funds must use the UEI created in the System for Award Management (SAM.gov).

If your entity is registered in SAM.gov, you already have your UEI, and it is viewable in SAM.gov. Remember, you must be signed in to your SAM.gov account to view entity records. All SAM.gov registrants have been assigned their UEIs and can view them in SAM.gov.

Phase 40 Applications are DUE Friday, March 3, 2023 by 5:00pm PST. One electronic copy must be emailed to Linda Wingert at lindawingert@unitedwayslo.org

Download Phase 40 Application


EFSP Eligible Orgs 2023



San Luis Obispo County has been chosen to receive emergency food and shelter program funding in the amount of $89,465 for Phase 40 of the EFSP funding cycle.

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 American Red Cross; Catholic Charities USA; The Jewish Federation of North America; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Salvation Army; and, United Way Worldwide. The Local Board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.

A Local Board made up of United Way of SLO County; American Red Cross; Catholic Charities; Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County; SLO County Department of Social Services; SLO Ministerial Association; and The Salvation Army will determine how the funds awarded to San Luis Obispo County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area. The Local Board is responsible for recommendation agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds made available under this phase of the program.

Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must: 1) be private voluntary non-profits or units of government, 2) be eligible to receive Federal funds, 3) have an accounting system, 4) practice nondiscrimination, 5) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 6) if they are a private voluntary organization, have a voluntary board. Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.

Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funding should contact Linda Wingert at United Way of San Luis Obispo County at lindawingert@unitedwayslo.org to receive an application or visit www.unitedwayslo.org/efsp to download an application.  The deadline for applications to be received is by 5:00 pm on Friday, March 3, 2023.  All applications must be received by Linda Wingert via email at lindawingert@unitedwayslo.org. No hard copies please.

Phase 40 New Guidelines