Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP)

EFSP logos

EFSP Program Description 

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) was created in 1983 to supplement and expand the work of local social service agencies, both nonprofit and governmental, in an effort to help people with economic emergencies (non-disaster-related).  EFSP funding is open to all organizations helping those who are experiencing hunger or homelessness in Freeborn County.  EFSP funds must be used to supplement feeding, sheltering, rent/mortgage or utility assistance efforts for programs already in existence.  These funds cannot be used to substitute for other program funds or to start new programs.


EFSP funds are not to be used to provide emergency assistance for circumstances that are the immediate result of a disaster situation, such as fires of any kind, floods, hurricanes or tornadoes.  However, EFSP funds may be used to provide economic assistance in the long term, even if the current circumstances may have been impacted by an earlier disaster occurrence.


Funds can be used to serve permanent residents of and transients within Freeborn County, MN.  Please see eligible expenditures list for a comprehensive list of categories that an organization can submit an application.  Each year needs are assessed locally in an effort to respond to changes in the community.


Funding is made available by the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency.  This is a competitive grant process, and no organization is guaranteed funding or to receive the entire amount requested. 


Please review each section below before completing the EFSP application at the bottom of the page. 



A public or private non-profit organization in Freeborn  County that meets the following:

  • Required on Application: has a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number.
       Link to apply for DUNS -
  • Required on Application: has a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
       Link to apply for FEIN -
  • Has no known EFSP compliance exceptions in this or any other jurisdiction,
  • Currently provides emergency food, shelter, rent/mortgage or utility assistance
  • Will use funds to supplement/extend existing resources (not for new programs) and not to substitute or reimburse ongoing programs and services,
  • Is nonprofit or an agency of government,
  • Will not use EFSP funds as a cost-match for other Federal funds or programs,
  • Has an accounting system, and will pay all vendors by an approved method of payment,
  • Understands that cash payments (including petty cash) are not eligible under EFSP,
  • Will conduct an independent annual review if receiving $25,000-$49,999 in EFSP funds, an independent annual audit if receiving $50,000 or more in EFSP funds, and an OMB Circular A-133 if receiving $500,000 or more in Federal funding,
  • Has not received an adverse or no opinion audit,
  • Is not debarred or suspended from receiving Federal funds,
  • Practices nondiscrimination (agencies with a religious affiliation will not refuse service to an applicant based on religion, nor engage in religious proselytizing or religious counseling in any program receiving Federal funds),
  • Has a voluntary board if a private nonprofit and provides current board roster,
  • Will attend required trainings and meetings organized by the Local Board
  • Will expend monies only on eligible costs and keep complete documentation (copies of canceled LRO checks -- front and back, other proof of payment, invoices, receipts, etc.) on all expenditures for a minimum of three years after end-of-program date, and for compliance issues until resolved.
  • Will spend all funds and close out the program by my jurisdiction's selected end-of-program date and return any unused funds to the National Board,
  • Will provide complete, accurate documentation of expenses to the Local Board
  • Understands that EFSP is a reimbursement program, and reimbursement can take several months. Local Board has no control over the reimbursement timeline.


  • Minimum funding amount is $500 per agency. EFSP requests cannot exceed 50% of a program budget.  One funding category maximum.
  • Other Food and Served Meals funding categories are limited to food purchase only.
  • Bed Night at $12.50.
  • Rental / Mortgage Assistance capped at $600 for one month.
  • Served Meals at $2 per meal per diem.

Click here for detailed descriptions of each funding category and eligible activities. 




  • Both phases are made available at the same time, same timeline, and same application.
  • An agency may apply for one or both phases.  Applying for one or both phases has no impact on your application score by the review panel.  The application includes instructions on how to answer the questions. Please review instructions and answer questions completely.
  • An agency may apply for the same funding category on both Phase 39 and Phase ARPA  or a different funding category for each phase. 


  • The most critical needs be met in the most efficient and effective manner.
  • Address hunger and homelessness to make a genuine impact.
  • Completely and accurately obtain, retain, and submit the required expenditure documentation.
  • Additional organization resources beyond EFSP funding available to clients in need of support.
  • Equity and inclusion considerations to reach populations disproportionately impacted
  • Accessibility to agency (on a bus line, easy access, accept walk-ins, etc.)
  • Clear demonstration of funding being supplemental and not sustaining


Please thoroughly read through the program eligibility (above) and application guide

  • ONE application per organization will be accepted
  • Organizations must prioritize their needs and apply for ONE funding category
    • Rent/mortgage, utility, mass shelter, served meals, or other food
    • For detailed descriptions of each funding category and eligible activities, click here

Due online by April 25th 2022 at noon

The entire application process is managed online in United Way’s grant management software.  Click the below guide and application link to get started.  Phase 39 and Phase ARPA are the same application, but with instructions on how to answer for EACH Phase.

All NEW submitters are required to have or create an account to complete and submit your report.  Keep your user name and password handy so that you can "save a draft" and return to complete your submission. This user name and password will continue to be used for future grant cycles. 

  • LOGIN HERE (If you already have a user name and password for ANY grant application, including UWFC’s annual Community Impact Grants)
  • CREATE AN ACCOUNT (New users only - we recommend using your email as your user name - then an email is sent to you to set your password an email will be sent to you)
  • RESET YOUR PASSWORD (if your email has been used previously, you can reset your password - note that your user name will appear as the greeting)


Questions or Application Support

Erin Haag, Executive Director  |  United Way of Freeborn County

erin@unitedwayfc.org  |  507.373.8670

Applications via the online system only.  Hand delivered, mailed, or faxed proposals will not be accepted.  Incomplete proposals or proposals received after the due date and time will not be accepted. A printable version of the Guidelines & Instructions can be found by clicking this link. 
UWFC will coordinate with the EFSP Local Board to manage the process for reviewing proposals. This is a competitive process with limited funding available and submission of an application does not guarantee funding. UWFC is open to communications and will be available for questions.