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

The Family Service League has 60 programs at

The Family Service League has 60 programs at 20 locations across Long Island. Above, its DASH Crisis Center in Hauppauge. Credit: Barry Sloan

The Family Service League, a Huntington-based nonprofit, announced it has received a $1.25 million grant from a foundation established by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos enabling the agency to expand its work helping homeless families gain permanent housing and supportive services.

The one-time grant from Bezos' Day 1 Families Fund "will allow FSL to help reduce the emergency housing stays of households by streamlining access to housing relocation assistance, affordable housing, case management and support service," Family Service League president and chief executive Karen Boorshtein said in a statement.

In an interview, she added that the grant will enable the agency to augment its services to homeless families over and above the number it already provides by about 40 to 50 families.

"On any given day, we house probably 300 to 400 people" in the agency's six shelters for the homeless, five of which are devoted to individuals and one for families, Boorshtein said.

She said the Day 1 Families Fund grant requires it be used for helping homeless families.

"FSL has always helped individuals to get permanent housing," Boorshtein said. "This grant focuses resources on families, to give them the tools, the resources they need to help avoid going back into any shelter system. We’ll do that by case management services and support, helping with job training, to help them stay in permanent housing and not revert back into the system."

Boorshtein said her agency, which has existed for 95 years and has 60 programs at 20 locations across Long Island, and serves about 55,000 people annually, was excited that it had been invited by the Day 1 Families Fund to submit an application.

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 helping to prevent homelessness," Boorshtein said. "Then they select agencies to invite to apply. They sought us out, which we’re thrilled about. Then they give you an application to apply and then they have a panel review proposals and make a determination."

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

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