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Countywide : $1.3-Million Grant Will Go to Shelters, Food Charities

October 22, 1994|THAO HUA

Orange County will receive a $1.3-million federal grant to help charity groups pay for food and housing for the poor, officials announced Friday.

The grant, provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is part of a 12-year national program that distributes as much as $131 million annually to supplement shelter and food programs throughout the United States, said FEMA spokesman Mark Wolfson.

The grant, based on such factors as poverty rates and unemployment, is intended to help local social service agencies in dealing with the increasing number of people needing services.

Social workers say they are seeing more people who didn't need assistance several years ago--families with two incomes, for instance.

"The rent alone will eat up their paychecks," said Capt. Lee Lescano, who oversees the food and housing programs for the Salvation Army in Orange County. "Where are they going to get money for food?"

Judy Mader, director of the outreach program at Catholic Charities, said she has put engineers, accountants and small-business owners in temporary shelters over the past year.

"They just need a breather to get back on their feet," she said.

Orange County's grant is part of $21.8 million allocated to California, Wolfson said. Los Angeles County received $6.7 million.

The $1.3 million will be disseminated in Orange County by a board made up of a coalition of charity groups. Information about the grants can be obtained through the American Red Cross-Orange County by calling (714) 835-5381, Ext. 275. Applications from nonprofit groups will be accepted through Nov. 7.

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