Anne Arundel County has won a $179,145 federal grant, a threefold increase over last year, to help the homeless and hungry through the winter.
Homeless shelters and food pantries can apply for part of the grant from the Federal Emergency Food and Shelter National Program.The county received nearly three times the assistance this year for emergency shelters, meals, help with utility bills and eviction prevention.
Last year, the county helped 5,201 poor people with a $59,401 grant from FEMA, said Marjorie Bennett, director of emergency programs for the county Department of Social Services.
"I anticipate the reason it went up is the need here," she said. "The need for food and shelter is greater than anything we have seen in recent years."
The Light House shelter in Annapolis plans to compete for FEMA assistance, said shelter director Joe Rock. The emergency shelter did not receive help in previous years while it was a roving program. Now that it has a permanent home, it is trying again.
The Anne Arundel Food Bank and many church food pantries and soup kitchens also are expected to apply, Bennett said.
The deadline for applications is Dec. 11.