Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

Policy Update: DHS Notice of Funding Opportunity and Allocations Released for New Migrant-Focused Shelter and Services Program

This is an update to our March blog post and continuing coverage of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Food and Shelter Program – Humanitarian (EFSP-H) and its replacement, the new Shelter and Services Program (SSP), which makes federal funding available for costs associated with providing shelter and essential services to noncitizen migrants encountered and released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

On June 12, 2023, FEMA released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the first tranche of SSP funding, totaling $291 million out of the $363.8 million allocated to the SSP. The NOFO identifies eligible applicants/recipients and adds clarity on selection criteria and requirements. Key takeaways from this update include: 

  • Nearly 60 percent of funds were allocated to non-border states. 
  • The largest SSP allocations were to New York ($104 million), Texas ($62 million), California ($31 million), Illinois ($29 million), and Arizona ($23 million). 
  • Around 40 percent of the awards were allocated to non-governmental organizations.

While this funding was initially announced in late February as EFSP-H funding, it has been re-released through the SSP NOFO. The SSP is expected to largely follow EFSP-H guidance, but policy details are still being released.  

How were eligible applicants and allocations determined?

Funding amounts available to eligible applicants are based on release and destination data received from United States (US) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from October 1, 2022, to May 21, 2023 – accounting for the final destination in the US of asylum seekers and other migrants, rather than just their point of entry. Additionally, eligible applicants/recipients also had to apply for assistance via the Emergency Food and Shelter Program – Humanitarian in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.  

Who are eligible applicants for the first tranche?

The following table outlines all eligible applicants for the first tranche of funding. Any funds not accepted by the applicant in this allocation will roll over to the second tranche of funding later this year. 

Who else is eligible?

Only those listed in the table above are eligible for this first tranche of funding; however, we anticipate an additional selection of eligible applicants when additional funding is released. Sub-applicants may apply for and receive awards from the eligible applicants provided they are a local government, tribal government, state, District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a non-profit. As with applicants, sub-applicants must demonstrate their capacity to perform SSP activities.  

What expenses are eligible?

Broad categories include “shelter, food, transportation, acute medical care, personal hygiene supplies, and [associated] labor” to support the safe, orderly, and humane release of noncitizen migrants from DHS short-term holding facilities.  

DHS notes that primary expenses (e.g., shelter, food, transportation, acute medical care) will take priority over secondary expenses (e.g., renovations or modifications to existing facilities, clothing, outreach, and translation services). Administrative costs related to both program management and grant (SSP) management costs may also be reimbursed. Our first and second blogs on the EFSP-H and SSP outline eligibility criteria, which is anticipated to reasonably align with the EFSP-H guidance. 

The NOFO reaffirms prior eligibility criteria for funding as well as performance metrics. It is worth noting that eligible applicants, through their application, must demonstrate the capacity to conduct these services. Furthermore, for reimbursement of services, the SSP requires Alien Registration Numbers (A-numbers) or evidence of DHS processing showing the individuals have had prior interactions with CBP. The NOFO goes on to state performance metrics, including data such as the number of meals provided, nights lodged, transport, medical care items provided, personal hygiene provided, and labor to manage cases.  

We recommend applicants and subapplicants map expenses against the list of eligible activities in the NOFO to ensure they do not claim ineligible expenses or exceed reimbursement limits in eligible categories; for instance, there are caps on what percentage of total funds can be expended on certain eligible activities. This may be necessary to maximize reimbursement and grant allocations.  

Next Steps

The provision of EFSP-H, and now SSP, federal funding to border communities and onward travel destinations across the country is critical to the successful and sustained reception, stabilization, and integration of migrants and asylum-seekers into the US.  

Additionally, recognizing the SSP is a new program and guidance is in development, applicants should expect further guidance in the coming months. Current eligible applicants have until July 12, 2023, to submit their application. The period of performance for this tranche of funding begins March 1, 2023, and extends 31 months to September 30, 2025. The next tranche of funding is $72.7 million, and we anticipate it will be made available soon. As additional policy and guidance are made available, we will continue to provide updates.  

Hagerty Can Help

If you have any questions about the SSP or your organization/jurisdiction’s eligibility, please contact us below, and one of our experts will be in touch. 

Nicole Morales is Hagerty’s Deputy Director of Response and strategic advisor to local and state governments and private sector organizations responding to natural and human-made disasters and humanitarian crises. She has led multi-disciplinary response teams across the country for hurricanes, wildfires, explosions, the COVID-19 pandemic, and, most recently, refugee resettlement and humanitarian missions. Prior to joining Hagerty, Nicole served as a consultant to FEMA, providing planning expertise and collaborating with federal interagency stakeholders to develop national response plans. 

Sage Hartis a Senior Managing Associate in Hagerty’s Recovery Division, supporting various natural disaster recovery and COVID-19 response projects in New York, Puerto Rico, California, and other areas of the country. His experience and expertise include program management, policy analysis, finance, and data analytics. Sage holds a master’s degree in international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s in finance from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.