The European Union has launched a new fund for people in need from 2014 to 2020. The new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) has a total budget of 3.8 billion euros and is the first European initiative to help people experiencing extreme life conditions and to tackle serious social problems such as hunger, homelessness and child poverty.
A successor to the Food for the Most Deprived scheme, the new fund aims to deliver beyond immediate food assistance and provide ’essential goods’ to the most materially-deprived people.
Each member-state will be able to choose, according to their own situation, the type of assistance they wish to provide and then partner with national organizations for the distribution. Furthermore, the material assistance will also be combined with social inclusion measures such as guidance and counseling to help get people out of poverty.
The EU will cover 85% of the costs and member states will contribute the rest 15%. However, for crisis-hit countries such as Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Ireland, the EU may cover up to 95% of the costs. Greece will receive a 249.3 million euros grant from the FEAD and Cyprus 3.5 million euros.
In 2012, about 125 million Europeans were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, five million more than in 2011, while 50 million people were suffering from severe material deprivation, according to EU data. The EU aims to reduce the number of deprived people by at least 20 million by 2020.
Evidence shows that the most vulnerable, excluded and people on low-incomes, eat less well, pay relatively more for what they get in terms of nutritional value and suffer disproportionately more from the vast and rising health inequalities due to poor and substandard diets.