The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) supports EU countries' actions to provide material assistance to the most deprived.
This includes food, clothing and other essential items for personal use, e.g. shoes, soap and shampoo.
Material assistance needs to go hand in hand with social inclusion measures, such as guidance and support to help people out of poverty.
National authorities may also support non-material assistance to the most deprived people, to help them integrate better into society.
The Commission approves the national programmes for 2014-2020, on the basis of which national authorities take the individual decisions leading to the delivery of the assistance through partner organisations (often non-governmental). A similar approach is already used for cohesion funds.
EU countries may choose what type of assistance (food or basic material assistance, or a combination of both) they wish to provide, depending on their own situation, and how the items are to be obtained and distributed.
National authorities can either purchase the food and goods themselves and supply them to partner organisations, or fund the organisations so that they can make the purchases themselves. Partner organisations which buy the food or goods themselves can either distribute them directly, or ask other partner organisations to help.
The partner organisations are public bodies or non-governmental organisations selected by national authorities on the basis of objective and transparent criteria defined at national level.
In real terms, over €3.8 billion are earmarked for the FEAD for the 2014-2020 period.
In addition, EU countries are to contribute at least 15% in national co-financing to their national programme.
FEAD support will help people take their first steps out of poverty and social exclusion. The FEAD will help the most deprived people by addressing their most basic needs, which is a precondition for them to be able to get a job or follow a training course such as those supported by the ESF.