BOUNTIFUL– When people think of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, they may think of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, when thousands of displaced Louisiana residents had to wait for shelter and housing.
Or they might think of the help that agency provided after the devastating windstorm that struck Davis County about a year ago.
But the federal agency also provides financial assistance on a smaller scale, as it has done in Davis County for many years.
Funds have traditionally been received to assist with transportation of food, for rent and utility assistance, to pay for vouchers for temporary stays in hotels by those considered homeless. Those staying at Safe Harbor Domestic Violence Shelter also are considered homeless, even though they have temporary housing at the facility.
Tuesday morning, the Emergency Food and Shelter program’s local board met to determine how to divide about $85,000 that must be spent by next spring.
Funds were awarded to Safe Harbor, at $25,000, Bountiful Community Food Pantry, at $15,000, and $44,000 for Family Connection Center. The grants include funds for help with food and transportation and assistance with one month’s rent and utility payments.
The food pantry will set up a schedule for once-a-week or more visits by Family Connection Center staffers to work with those requesting utility and rent assistance, said Jason Wilde, Connection Center executive director.
“We’ve always tried to serve the whole county. We need to work with (the pantry) to avoid duplication,” Wilde said.
The Family Connection Center also has the mandate to coordinate such efforts as the county’s community action agency, she said.
Previously, funds were also allocated to several small food pantries operated by area churches, such as the Fishes & Loaves program. However, Adams said some of them have closed. Churches still visit the food bank regularly to obtain necessary food.
Funding for the FEMA program has steadily been cut and there has been no money allocated for the program for more than a year.