Tricounty News

Emergency funding for families in need in Minnesota

As Minnesota homeless shelters fill up and the supplies of food banks dwindle, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced Monday, Dec. 22, that Minnesota will receive $3,170,902 for emergency food and shelter programs. Allocated by the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the funds assist people dealing with non-disaster related emergencies. The grant will help feed and house Minnesotans and assist those struggling to make rent, mortgage and utility payments during the down economy. "The weak economy makes it all the more important to have a strong safety net," said Klobuchar. "This is a time when family budgets are getting tighter, unemployment is rising and temperatures are falling. Families who are victims of this economy need help to see them through these tough times." Minnesota's unemployment rate rose to 6.4 percent in November. More than 30,000 jobs in Minnesota have been lost in the past year. The Center for Responsible Lending projects that, because of the number of foreclosures in Minnesota, 33,100 children could be left homeless. Administered through a national board of volunteer agencies and chaired by FEMA, the Emergency Food and Shelter (EFS) program distributes funds to social service agencies. The allotted funding can be used to supplement and expand ongoing efforts to provide shelter, food, and supportive services for homeless individuals, with the goal of moving from temporary shelter to permanent homes. The $3,170,902 was appropriated for the 2009 Fiscal Year through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, named after Minnesota Congressman Bruce Vento, who died in 2000. Below are some of the county breakdowns for the EFS funds. Breakdown by county has been edited to show local-area counties only: • St. Cloud City/Benton, Sherburne, Stearns Counties-$214,014 • Hennepin County-$766,762 • Marshall County-$10,368 • Meeker County-$20,155 • Ramsey County $336,939 State Set-Aside Committee, Minnesota-$1,014,656.