The Department of Homeland Security, through FEMA, announced it will publish a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $350 million under the humanitarian portion of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP-H) to help local communities around the country better manage the costs of noncitizen arrivals in their communities. This is the first major portion of funding that is being allocated for humanitarian assistance under the Omnibus funding approved in December.
“With today’s funding of $350 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, DHS is delivering on our commitment to provide needed support to communities across the country that receive noncitizens who are in immigration enforcement proceedings,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “At the same time, we are working to quickly stand up the new Shelter and Services Program created by Congress and look forward to awarding funds through this important new program later this fiscal year.”
The Bipartisan Year-End Omnibus signed by President Biden on December 29, 2022, authorized the creation of a new DHS grant program, the Shelter and Services Program (SSP), to support these communities. The Omnibus directed CBP to transfer $800 million in funding to FEMA to establish the SSP and authorized the use of a portion of that funding for the existing EFSP-H until the SSP is established. Through today’s Notice, the Department of Homeland Security is directing $350 million to EFSP-H to fund costs incurred by localities and non-governmental organizations that assist screened and vetted noncitizens provisionally released from DHS custody pending the outcome of their immigration court proceedings. This is in addition to the $75 million awarded through EFSP-H during the Continuing Resolution.
The Department of Homeland Security, along with its components FEMA and CBP, are working as quickly as possible to set up the new SSP. As such, FEMA and CBP will jointly host a series of listening sessions over the next several weeks to gather input from stakeholders, including previous recipients of EFSP-H funding and jurisdictions interested in applying to the SSP.
The EFSP program is governed by a National Board comprised of representatives from the American Red Cross, the United Way Worldwide, and four religious charitable organizations. The Board is chaired by a representative of FEMA. The EFSP National Board is the only eligible direct applicant for the funding opportunity announced.
After the National Board receives the funds, it will post the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 application guidance and begin accepting applications. The Board, with support from FEMA, will host a series of webinars for potential applicants to explain how to apply, discuss any changes from the previous year’s application guidance, and provide answers about the application process. The National Board makes all final award determinations.
For now, interested applicants are encouraged to review the Continuing Resolution 2023 Guidance to understand eligible items under the program.