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WCAP to reconvene Local Board to distribute federal emergency funds

By Carolyn Zachary | May 18, 2020

Belfast — In anticipation of receiving federal funds for distribution locally, Waldo Community Action Partners today announced it will reconvene its Local Board for the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program and soon will begin accepting applications.

Emergency funds are expected to come in June from the CARES Act and the Department of Homeland Security's COVID-19 Response, according to WCAP Resource Developer Dorothy Havey. Monies will flow from FEMA, under its Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program, to United Way in Maine, and from there to WCAP for local distribution.

Congress created the Emergency Food and Shelter program in 1983 with a $50 million federal appropriation to help meet the needs of hungry and homeless people. In the years since, funding has flowed to Waldo County recipients under the direction of its local Community Action Agency, Waldo Community Action Partners.

Havey told The Republican Journal May 18 that the Phase 37 Local Board, which WCAP heads, has been dormant for the last few years, principally because federal food and shelter funding is based on unemployment levels, which in Waldo County have decreased significantly.

WCAP received its last Emergency Food and Shelter program grant — $5,700 — in 2016. "That was a three-year grant," Havey said, and the Local Board, still active at that time, managed the application, review and recommendation process. As the Local Board's fiscal administrator, WCAP distributed the funds. There has been no federal money to Waldo County from the program since then.

With the current pandemic, however, local unemployment levels have risen, and Havey anticipates federal funding will increase accordingly. How much, WCAP will not know until after June 1, she said.

Meanwhile, "We want to have a process in place to distribute the funds," Havey said. To do that, WCAP is reconstituting its Local Board as prescribed by FEMA, drawing members from local units of the national organizations represented on the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board. These include Catholic Charities, The Jewish Federations of North America, the National Council of Churches, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and a homeless or formerly homeless individual. Waldo County Emergency Management Agency Director Dale Rowley also is a Local Board member.

"This is a great opportunity for these funds to come back to Waldo County," Havey said.

Waldo Community Action Partners is also seeking applications from potential grant recipients (emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies) — but not before the agency knows the amount of funding it will have available, Havey said. Until then, Havey said WCAP staff will be counseling local agencies about how to apply. "Once we receive notice of the award amount, we will welcome applications at that time," she said.

Local Board members will collect and review the applications, recommend agencies to receive the funds, award grants for distribution through WCAP, and issue a final report to the National Board. "And attend two meetings a year," Havey added.

Public or private agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact WCAP for an application. WCAP is located at 9 Field St., P.O. Box 130, Belfast, ME 04915. For more information on this program, call Dorothy Havey at 338-6809, ext. 216.


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