Luzerne County has been awarded $148,806 under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the area.
The need is up locally, but the dollar amount available is down. Last year the county received $150,000. In 2010, that figure was $214,040.
The funding, which comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is allocated to counties or agencies nationwide. Locally, the United Way of Wyoming Valley serves as the conduit.
A local board is established to review applications from community organizations seeking a portion of the funding. Amy Feldman, who oversees the program locally, said applications from qualifying agencies or organizations must be received by Dec. 10 and the board will meet and allocate money by the end of the year.
Organizations that have requested and been awarded funds in the past include: Catholic Social Services, of both Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre; Commission on Economic Opportunity, of both Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre; Ruth's Place; Jewish Family Services and the Salvation Army, of both Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre.
Feldman said the groups can apply stating how they intend to use the money, and the board will determine how much to allocate. Typically, Feldman said, all requesting organizations are given some amount of money.
It's very important for these agencies. A lot of them depend on this money, Feldman said, noting that for CEO, the total awards between both Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton offices last year was $83,000.
The money can be used for shelter, emergency rent or mortgage payments to keep people in their homes, food and utility assistance.
Dave Ritter, director of housing and outreach for CEO in Wilkes-Barre, said though the money is much less than in previous years, it's still a big help.
Without it there would be a lot of people a lot worse off than they already are now, Ritter said.
To apply to be a distributing organization, contact Amy Feldman at the United Way of Wyoming Valley. Call 829-6711, ext. 232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is Dec. 10.