The largest homeless population in Florida is right in our backyard. Food insecurity, no place to sleep, fear of violence — each one is terrible on its own, but hungry children also don’t perform well in school, and homelessness and school mobility impact students’ abilities to succeed. If they don’t do well in school, high school graduation is in jeopardy, and the downward spiral begins.

Through the Siemer Family Stability initiative, United Way ensures children at risk of homelessness and suffering the academic challenges of school mobility are provided the means and support to stay in school and graduate while their families receive assistance to stabilize their living environments. The Siemer Family Stability initiative has provided services to 384 children and 185 families.

To date, 100 percent of the families sustained their housing, and 92 percent of the Pinellas children and 97 percent of the Hillsborough children remained in their original school.

United Way Suncoast works with partner agencies to address the necessities for those in our community who need basic help.

Generous gifts provided emergency assistance to many families in their time of need.

  • More than 236,850 calls were received by 2- 1- 1 providers.
  • More than 285,950 people received food assistance.
  • More than 23,600 people received shelter.
  • 310 seniors received free legal support to prevent home foreclosures.


The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) was created in 1983 to supplement and expand the work of local social service agencies, both nonprofit and governmental, in an effort to help people with economic emergencies (not disaster-related emergencies, such as fires of any kind, floods, tornadoes, etc.). Therefore, EFSP funds are not to be used to provide emergency assistance for circumstances that are the immediate result of a disaster situation. EFSP funds may be used to provide economic assistance in the long term, even if the current circumstances may have been impacted by an earlier disaster occurrence. The EFSP funding is open to all organizations helping hungry and homeless people. EFSP funds must be used to supplement feeding, sheltering (including transitional sheltering) and rent/mortgage, and utility assistance efforts only. EFSP is governed by a national board that selects jurisdictions for funding. Local Boards are convened in those qualifying jurisdictions to determine the highest need and best use of funds and to select Local Recipient Organizations (LROs) that will provide emergency food and shelter services. Each year, needs are to be assessed in an effort to respond to changes in the community.

Local boards have been convened in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to receive and review applications for funding through the EFSP program. Currently, the application window is closed, but you can check back here periodically for updates or contact us at 813-274-0900.

Whether you currently receive EFSP funding or are interested in applying in the future, you can learn more about the program through the EFSP manual: Phase 30 Manual (pdf)