The City of San Antonio and local nonprofit social service organizations that have been feeding, sheltering, and serving migrants released from custody can apply for federal aid starting this week.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) announced Monday that state, local, and nonprofit, faith-based organizations serving asylum seekers are eligible to apply for reimbursements and will have 10 days to submit an application for their piece of a $25 million pie.

“Throughout Texas, local governments and organizations have felt the significant financial strain of the humanitarian crisis on our southern border,” said Cuellar, who serves as vice chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee.

Cuellar outlined the application process and eligible expenditures; spending for food and shelter get first priority and transportation costs second. He said the application will be posted online later in the week, and will be available through the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program (EFSP), which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Local organizations and municipal governments should apply through the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, and provide spreadsheets of expenditures, the number of individuals served, and copies of receipts proving expenditures. 

Cuellar called the grant application a critical step in alleviating the economic burden of administering humanitarian aid for local organizations and governments.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the local governments and organizations who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in accommodating the thousands of migrants at our southern border,” he said.

Applicants will be required to account for a significant influx of migrants into the region, the volume of services they are providing, and the types of eligible services, according to a press release from Cuellar’s office. Expenses that can be reimbursed are divided into two categories. The first is food and shelter, with reimbursements being made for those expenditures first.

Following that, if any funds remain, the second category of expenditures – transportation-related costs and other expenses such as medical costs – will be considered for reimbursement.

The EFSP is responsible for distributing $25 million in total grant money available to Texas entities and makes all final award decisions.

It will consider factors such as migrant release data received from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, the number of migrants served, and the costs incurred.

Shari Biediger has been covering business and development for the San Antonio Report since 2017. A graduate of St. Mary’s University, she has worked in the corporate and nonprofit worlds in San Antonio...