ST. CLOUD - Our tri-county area is expecting nearly $80,000 more in federal emergency shelter aid than last year.

The United Way of Central Minnesota says the local Emergency Food and Shelter Board has been looking at poverty and unemployment levels in Stearns, Benton and Sherburne Counties, to determine what level of funding is required to help those in need.

They're anticipating a total of $99,814 this year, a sharp increase from last year's amount of $19,334.

In 2011, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program helped 4,000 area families nights in shelters and 37 with rent or mortgage assistance.