Family Service League receives $1.25 million grant from foundation created by Jeff Bezos

The Family Service League, a nonprofit organization based in Huntington, announced that it had received a $1.25 million grant from a foundation created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, enabling the agency to expand its work by helping homeless families obtain permanent housing and support services.

One-time grant from Bezos’ Day 1 Families Fund “will enable FSL to help reduce emergency household stays by streamlining access to relocation assistance, affordable housing, case management and services of support,” said the President and CEO of the Family Service League. Karen Boorshtein said in a statement.

In an interview, she added that the grant will allow the agency to increase its services to homeless families beyond the number it already provides to around 40 to 50 families.

“Every day we house probably 300 to 400 people” at the agency’s six homeless shelters, five of which are for individuals and one for families, Boorshtein said.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. Credit: Getty Images/Emma McIntyre

She said the Day One Families Fund grant requires that it be used to help homeless families.

“FSL has always helped individuals obtain permanent housing,” Boorshtein said. “This grant focuses resources on families, to give them the tools, the resources they need to avoid returning to a shelter system. We will do this through case management and support services, helping to job training, to help them stay in permanent housing and not go back into the system.”

Boorshtein said her agency, which has been around for 95 years and offers 60 programs at 20 locations across Long Island and serves about 55,000 people a year, was thrilled to be invited by the Day 1 Families Fund to submit an application.

The Family Service League was the only program in New York to receive a grant from the fund this year.

“Apparently the Day 1 fund does a tremendous amount of research on organizations that help prevent homelessness,” Boorshtein said. “Then they select which agencies to invite to apply. They approached us, which we’re delighted about. Then they give you an application to apply to, and then they have a panel that reviews the proposals and makes a decision.”

According to its website, the Day 1 Families Fund, launched in 2018, has awarded 130 grants totaling $398 million to organizations in 37 states and the District of Columbia. 2021 recipients include 32 organizations in 21 states, receiving total funding of $96.2 million “to help provide food, shelter and support to families across the country.”

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