FEMA Public Assistance

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Public Assistance Program provides aid in the wake of a major disaster to state and local governments, and to certain non-profits, to help communities in their recovery efforts.[1] (broken link)

The Public Assistance Program provides federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged property. The Public Assistance Program is meant to supplement any federal disaster grant assistance that a business or organization has already received. The Public Assistance, or PA Program, is based on a partnership between FEMA, State, and local officials. The federal share of assistance should be less than 75% of the eligible cost of emergency efforts and restoration. The remaining funds are generally allocated by the state and are distributed amongst eligible applicants.[2]

Applicant eligibility criteria[edit]

In order to receive a Public Assistance Grant, the applicant must register within sixty days of the disaster. The applicant must first be deemed eligible to apply for FEMA Public Assistance. Those eligible include: state government agencies, local governments, federally recognized Indian tribes, and private non-profit organizations.[3]

Facility eligibility criteria[edit]

For a facility to be eligible for FEMA Public Assistance, it must be located in a designated disaster area and be under the legal responsibility of an eligible applicant. The facility should have been in active use at the time of the disaster; and open to the general public.

Types of work covered[edit]

The FEMA Public Assistance Grant Program can only be applied to two types of disaster recovery work. The first is emergency work – this includes the debris removal and the preventative measures taken to secure the property and prevent further damage to the property and to public health. The second is permanent work – which covers the measures needed to restore, or replace, the property.

Grant application process[edit]

The application processes is somewhat lengthy, and can include the following steps:[4] (broken link)

  • A preliminary damage assessment from which an immediate needs funding and expedited payments are derived
  • Applicants’ Briefing where applicants receive and complete a Request for Public Assistance form
  • In the event of a successful Request for Public Assistance, the applicant is assigned a public assistance coordinator
  • The next phase is an introductory meeting, which is composed of the applicant and their public assistance coordinator
  • The applicant's specific needs will be identified and cost estimates will be derived through the project formulation process
  • Cost estimates for small projects that have been previously prepared are confirmed through a standardized validation process
  • And finally if eligible, FEMA approves and processes funding for the disaster recovery project