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It has the potential for people to be homeless, for people to be without electricity, for people to be without heat.

Local aid groups coping without FEMA

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Federal Emergency Management come in when major natural disasters hit, but few people know they provide aid for much less dramatic emergencies through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.

Earlier this year, however, FEMA told expectant organizations that they don't know when -- or if -- they can expect the money.

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Reported by

Nora Flaherty
Digital Editor, News


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Emergency Food and Shelter Program usually gives annual allotments to local organizations who then pass it on to people in dire financial straits.

St. Lawrence County’s Community Development program generally gets FEMA aid. Norma Cary, executive director, said the money pays for food, utility bills, or fuel costs for those in need.

"I’m not 100 percent sure we are going to receive any funds this year," Cary said. "If we do receive some funds, I'm convinced there will be a cut in the number of dollars we receive county wide."

Rent, utility bills and fuel for heating will be a problem for many, but not food. "We are very fortunate that our neighborhoods do support our community centers with things like food," Cary said.

"It puts an already vulnerable population in a worse position," Cary said. "It has the potential for people to be homeless, for people to be without electricity, and for people to be without heat."

"I think it’s out of [FEMA’s] control; it’s back in congress’s hands," Cary said. "I’m not sure that they see the people we serve... This really impacts people in their day-to-day lives and their ability to survive."

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