FEMA's public assistance funds to strengthen communities
"Public Assistance (PA) helps to strengthen communities that do not have the means or resources to bounce back quickly from a natural disaster," according to Richard Griffin, state coordinating officer. "It reimburses local governments for costs they've had to expend because of a disaster and it allows them to plan for rebuilding with prevention in mind."
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) share of assistance is 75 percent of the eligible cost for emergency measures and permanent restoration. The state determines how the non-federal share (25 percent) is divided with the applicants.
PA grants are awarded for debris removal, emergency protective measures and permanent repairs to roads, water control facilities, public buildings and utilities. This work involves debris removal activities, emergency protective measures undertaken by a community before, during and following a disaster, and restoring infrastructure to its pre-disaster condition and can range from minor repairs to total replacement.
FEMA's PA Program encourages protection from future damage by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery period. "Site-specific" retrofitting or other steps taken to protect against future damage might be included in the work, if the applicant can demonstrate a favorable cost-benefit ratio.
To be eligible for PA, the work must be required as a result of the declared disaster, it must be located within the designated disaster area and the repair or restoration must be the responsibility of the applicant. Also, insurance must be deducted and assistance cannot be available from any other federal agency.
Examples of eligible private nonprofit facilities include electric and water utilities, custodial care and medical organizations and educational institutions. Eligible nonprofits must hold current federal tax-exempt status.
Projects are classified according to the estimated cost. Small projects are those with an estimated cost less than $63,200.
"FEMA is committed to ensuring eligible applicants receive all the assistance available under the law," Kevin Hannes, federal coordinating officer, said.
FEMA issues public assistance grants directly to the state, which reimburses applicants as sub-grantees.
For more information on Arkansas disaster recovery, visit online at www.fema.gov or www.adem.arkansas.gov.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
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