The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) is a Federal program that was established on March 24, 1983, with the signing of the "Jobs Stimulus Bill," This legislation created a National Board, chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that consisted of representatives of the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, The Jewish Federations of North America, National Council of the Churches of Christ, The Salvation Army and United The EFSP was authorized under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance and was signed into law on July 24, 1987. The program's objectives are:
Each civil jurisdiction (a county or city) funded by the program must constitute a Local Board. The Board must be composed of representatives of the same organizations as those on the National Board, with a local government official replacing the FEMA representative. In jurisdictions where affiliates of National Board agencies do not exist, other appropriate representatives should be invited to sit on the Local Board. Jurisdictions that are located within or encompass a Federally-recognized Native American reservation must have a Native American representative on the Local Board. Each Local Board is required to include a homeless person, a formerly homeless person, or former recipient of program services on the Local Board. Additionally, the National Board encourages that organizations representing or serving the special emphasis groups named in the HEARTH Act be included on Local Boards. These groups include the elderly, families with children, veterans, and the physically and mentally disabled.
Program funds are used to provide the following services, as determined by the Local Board in each funded jurisdiction: