The Emergency Solutions Grant Program (ESG) provides financial assistance to non-profit agencies that operate emergency shelters, transitional housing, and supportive services for homeless individuals and families. The goal of the ESG is to improve the quality of existing homeless shelters, make available additional shelters, and to assist in the provision of essential social services to the homeless person.

Program Overview:

Palm Beach County receives Emergency Solutions Grant Program (ESGP) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) annually. The ESG is authorized by the Stuart B. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, as amended, for the rehabilitation or conversation of buildings for use as emergency shelter for the homeless, for the payment of certain operating expenses, for the rapid re-housing of homeless individuals and families, essential services in connection with emergency shelters for the homeless, and for homeless prevention activities. The program is designed to be the first step in a continuum of assistance to enable homeless individuals and families to move toward independent living as well as to prevent homelessness.

Eligible Categories:

Palm Beach County makes ESG funds available to area non-profit agencies for activities within the major eligibility categories as described below. Be advised that the County will not fund staff costs.

  • Operations and Maintenance of Shelter Facilities: Provides for the operation and maintenance cost of a homeless shelter. These costs may include such expenses as general maintenance, operation, insurance, utilities, furnishings, rent/lease, telephone, program supplies, repair, security, fuels, food, and equipment. No maximum percentage of the annual ESGP grant is required in this category.
  • Rapid Re-Housing: Provides for short or medium term rental assistance, housing relocation or stabilization services such as housing search, mediation, or outreach to property owners, legal services, credit repair, security or utility deposits, utility payments, final month's rental assistance, and moving moving costs or other relocation or stabilization activities.
  • Homeless Prevention Initiatives: Provides for homeless prevention activities including, but not limited to, emergency rent, mortgage, and/or utilities subsidies (to prevent eviction or termination of service). At least forty percent (40%) of ESG funds are dedicated to prevention and re-housing activities.

Local Match Requirement:

Each agency that receives ESG funds must provide matching funds on a dollar for dollar basis from sources other than ESG during the term of the ESG agreement. All matching funds must be documented, and only sources directly related to carrying out ESG activities may be counted toward the required amount. Sources of matching funds are:

  • Cash Funds
  • The value of any donated material or building for the purposes of operating the ESG activities
  • The value of a lease paid on a building for use in sheltering the homeless;
  • The value of any salary paid to agency staff in support of the ESG activities;
  • Time and services contributed by volunteers to carry out ESG activities, calculated at $5.00 per hour

Collaborative Efforts:

Palm Beach County believes that the best approach to alleviating homelessness is through a community-based process that provides a comprehensive response to the different needs of homeless individuals and families. The "Continuum of Care" system assesses needs, inventories resources, identifies gaps, and coordinates public and private resources to fill the gaps and avoid duplication.

Palm Beach County's Continuum of Care system provides multi-point access; linkages among service providers; and a coordinated, seamless approach to meet the needs of homeless individuals and families. The Continuum of Care system consists of prevention services, outreach and assessment, emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, permanent housing for the general population, and support services.

Palm Beach County also believes in the importance of collaborative efforts to meet the needs of homeless individuals and families. Therefore, in evaluating applications, the Department of Community Services (DCS) awards points for participation in efforts such as the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County Service Provider Network, the Palm Beach County Client Services Network, the Center for Information and Crisis Services, and the Continuum of Care system.

Application Process:

Applications are reviewed by DCS staff and a selection committee made up of members of the Homeless Coalition. Funding recommendations for ESG funds are made by the selection committee and subject to final approval by the Board of County Commissioners.