October 26, 2022
Pressley Joins Warren, MA Lawmakers in Asking FEMA for Assistance with Program for Food and Shelter Grants
MA delegation is requesting a briefing on the Emergency Food and Shelter Program used to aid migrants, as well as updated guidance to organizations and revisions to the program’s website
BOSTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation on a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell and Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) Chair Michael Lee requesting help for local organizations to find the resources they need to support newly arrived migrants in Massachusetts.
This request follows a letter sent last month by members of the Massachusetts delegation to FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urging them to ensure that EFSP funds are awarded as quickly and efficiently as possible to organizations providing humanitarian aid to migrants in Massachusetts.
“We have already asked FEMA and DHS to award EFSP funds as quickly and with as little bureaucratic delay as possible to Massachusetts organizations that are providing humanitarian aid to migrants,” wrote the lawmakers. “FEMA must now also ensure that these funds are accessible to organizations that are new to the program.”
EFSP is charged with distributing grant awards to local humanitarian agencies and other entities that provide shelter, food, transportation, and related aid to migrants. Dozens of Massachusetts organizations have used EFSP awards, but some service organizations are either unaware of EFSP or have not previously received awards. Without experience or knowledge of the application process, organizations face barriers in accessing the program.
“Massachusetts organizations have capably provided dignified humanitarian assistance to people in need,” wrote the lawmakers. “However, they have also told us that they need more resources to support the growth in the number of migrants arriving within this relatively short period of time.”
To ensure that these worthy organizations are able to participate in the program, the lawmakers are asking that FEMA:
- Conduct enhanced outreach to Massachusetts organizations to share updated guidance on how to apply for and access EFSP funds;
- Update the EFSP website and;
- Provide a briefing to the Massachusetts Congressional delegation regarding FEMA’s current efforts to make EFSP funds more accessible.
Rep. Pressley and Senator Warren were joined on this letter by their colleagues in the Massachusetts Congressional delegation: Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Representatives Richard Neal (D-Mass.), James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.), and Bill Keating (D-Mass.).
In September, Rep. Pressley, along with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Congressman Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), and Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging DHS to condemn and investigate states’ cruel migrant relocation programs and protect vulnerable asylum seekers from deportation.
Earlier in September, Rep. Pressley joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation in asking he Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to use their administrative authorities to ensure that the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) is awarding funds as quickly as possible to Massachusetts entities that are providing humanitarian aid to migrants arriving in Boston and flown to Martha’s Vineyard.
Rep. Pressley recently joined Senator Markey and members of the Massachusetts delegation in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) urging OIG to review the State of Florida’s apparent misuse of federal pandemic relief funds from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF), created under the American Rescue Plan Act, to relocate vulnerable immigrants from Florida to other states across the country.
She also issued a statement regarding the arrival of migrants in Massachusetts.
Earlier this month, Rep. Pressley, along with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Congressman Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL), and Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), sent a letter with 19 colleagues to the House Appropriations Committee requesting that the upcoming fiscal year 2023 continuing resolution provide an additional $50 million above the enacted fiscal year 2022 level to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program for humanitarian assistance to migrants.