BURLINGTON - At a time of growing demands, Vermont emergency food and shelter programs were awarded $329,767 to help feed and shelter the hungry and homeless, Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch announced.
Vermont's total of $339,767 includes $21,141 for Caledonia County; $83,603 for Chittenden County; $24,251 for Orleans County; $46,480 for Rutland County; $39,171 for Washington County; and $115,121 for a state set-aside committee.
Leahy said, "These funds, a 32 percent increase over last year, will help strengthen our first line of defense against hunger and homelessness in Vermont. We must do more to feed and house those in need during these difficult economic times."
Sanders said, "At a time of great economic distress when more and more people are in need of help, this will be a significant benefit for food shelves and shelters all over Vermont. This is a big step forward, but more needs to be done."
Welch said, "This winter our most vulnerable friends and neighbors are facing truly difficult times. This money will not end the devastating problems of homelessness and hunger in our state, but we are thankful for any funding that can make this winter warmer for Vermonters."
The awards came from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency. The agency's Emergency Food and Shelter Board supports social service agencies in more than 2,500 cities and counties across the country. The funds supplement food, shelter, rent, mortgage and utility assistance programs for people with non-disaster related emergencies.
Members of the national board include American Red Cross; Catholic Charities USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.; The Salvation Army; United Jewish Communities; and United Way of America.
In each state, local boards set priorities, select non-profit and government agencies to receive supplemental funding, and monitor program compliance.
The program was created by Congress in 1983. The funds are distributed annually under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.