( PORTLAND, Maine) March 22, 2022 – United Way of Southern Maine (UWSM) and the Cumberland County Board for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) received notice from the EFSP National Board that UWSM will receive $1,218,672 to support individuals and families temporarily housed in hotels throughout Cumberland County due to COVID-19 protocols and the lack of shelter and housing space within the City of Portland.
Funds made available as part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act – Humanitarian Relief, will provide critical resources for the City of Portland to provide services and support to approximately 400 individuals and 200 families temporarily housed in ten hotels spread throughout Cumberland County, including City staff at hotel locations, transportation, and translation services.
“With individuals and families spread out across the county, challenges are different and more significant than what we faced in the past when individuals and families were housed and served in one central location,” said Aaron Geyer, Social Services Director, City of Portland.
UWSM will act as a fiscal agent for the Special Funding Request and will provide administrative support associated with processing EFSP funds.
“As the Cumberland County convening organization for EFSP, we’re responsible for administering the process, and are proud to support the City of Portland to address our community’s most pressing needs,” said Liz Cotter Schlax, President and CEO, United Way of Southern Maine. “We are incredibly grateful for the decision by the National Board.”
About Administration of Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP)
UWSM functions as the convening organization for Cumberland County and York County and provides the administrative support for EFSP’s fund distribution through two separate Local Boards for the EFSP, which are responsible for making annual disbursement decisions among local emergency food and shelter programs in Cumberland County and York County that apply for funds.
At the federal level, distribution decisions are made by a National Board that is chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, Council of Jewish Federations, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, The Salvation Army, and United Way Worldwide.