Houses of Worship in Florida may be Eligible for FEMA Public Assistance to Cover Damage from Hurricane Michael
What is the Public Assistance grant program?
· Public Assistance (PA) provides grants to state and local governments and certain types of private non-profit (PNP) organizations so that communities can respond to and recover from presidentially-declared disasters.
· The program is funded by FEMA on a cost-share basis and administered by the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
· FEMA provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance, 75 percent reimbursement of eligible costs for Emergency Work (debris removal and life-saving emergency protective measures) and Permanent Work (repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain non-profit organizations).
o For Eligible PNPs, debris removal is limited to that associated with the property of a facility.
o Emergency protective measures are generally limited to activities associated with preventing damage to a facility and its contents.
· FEMA does not provide PA funding to PNPs for the costs associated with emergency services such as sheltering and feeding survivors and other governmental services; unless those services were at the request of, and certified by, a legally-responsible government entity.
· Operating costs are generally not eligible even if the services are emergency services; unless the house of worship performs an emergency service at the request of, and is certified by, the legally-responsible government entity.
Eligibility requirements for houses of worship
A house of worship must:
o Be owned or operated by a Private Non-Profit organization.
o Have damage caused by Hurricane Michael that occurred on Oct. 7-19, 2018.
o Provide a non-critical but essential service open to the general public, without regard to their religious or secular nature.
o Provide an IRS current ruling letter granting tax exemption status under Section 501 (c) (d) or (e).
o Documentation from the state substantiating it is a non-revenue producing, nonprofit organization organized or doing business under state law
Request for Public Assistance (RPA) Application
· Request for Public Assistance (RPA) by submitting your completed RPA forms to www.floridapa.org/site/rpasubmission.cfm.
· Contact Florida Division of Emergency Management Public Assistance at www.floridapa.org or by calling (805) 815-4400 with questions on submission.
· The deadline to complete the RPA is Dec. 14, 2018.
SBA disaster loans are a critical part of your application process
· For all PNPs that provide non-critical services, including houses of worship, FEMA may provide Public Assistance funding for eligible permanent work costs only if an SBA disaster loan does not cover them.
o Like all non-critical PNP facilities under the law, a house of worship must apply to the SBA for a low-interest disaster loan for permanent repair work.
o Visit the SBA website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ or contact the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or visit your local DRC by searching at FEMA.gov/DRC.to process your application.
o FEMA will provide financial assistance only if the applicant is denied an SBA loan – or if the loan authorized is insufficient to cover repair costs.