LEWISTON — The United Way of Androscoggin County is offering some $40,000 in grants toward emergency food and shelter this winter.

In a news release Tuesday, the organization said it had been selected to administer the grant for the Androscoggin County Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program “to aid in the local fight against homelessness and hunger.”

The announcement comes as officials in the Twin Cities and county government are at a standstill over funding for an emergency shelter proposal, and as local organizations seek new ways to respond to the homelessness crisis as winter arrives.

Under the terms of the grant, funds can be awarded to either nonprofit organizations or “government units,” as long as the entity has “demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter.”

According to Gale Hart, director of finance and administration at the United Way of Androscoggin County, the Emergency Food and Shelter program was created in 1983 and the funds must be used to supplement feeding, sheltering and rent, mortgage or utility assistance.

The program is governed by a National Board that selects jurisdictions for funding, and the United Way of Androscoggin County convenes a local board that reviews applications and recommends funding.

Applications can be downloaded at the United Way website at www.unitedwayandro.org and the deadline is Dec. 30.

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