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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 059-ULY7A-00; Orange County Rescue Mission
PW ID# 110; Eligible Costs
May 3, 2012
California Emergency Management Agency
3650 Schriever Avenue
Mather, California 95655
Re: Second Appeal–Orange County Rescue Mission, PA ID 059-ULY7A-00, Eligible Sheltering Costs, FEMA-1810-DR-CA, Project Worksheet (PW) 110
Dear Mr. Ghilarducci:
This letter is in response to a letter from your office dated March 8, 2010, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the Orange County Rescue Mission (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of $24,153 for direct financial assistance provided to individuals.
Following the wildfires in November 2008, the Applicant provided displaced disaster survivors with food and hygiene kits, and gift cards from local grocery stores, retail stores and gas stations. FEMA prepared PW 110 in the amount of $24,153 to reimburse the Applicant for the costs related to food and hygiene kits, first aid kit labels, gift cards and calls to “2-1-1 Orange County”. After final review of the PW, FEMA obligated PW 110 for $6,701, denying the cost related to the gift cards, stating that FEMA’s Individual Assistance (IA) Program has authority for providing that type of assistance.
In its first appeal dated June 17, 2009, the Applicant asserted that during the declared event the services and assistance it provided to individuals were critical to the survivors' ability to recover from the disaster. In addition, the Applicant stated that the aid provided to the survivors did not constitute a duplication of benefits as it was not provided by any other FEMA programs. On November 5, 2009, FEMA denied the first appeal, stating that the Applicant provided financial assistance directly to individuals, an activity which is under the authority of the IA Program. FEMA de-obligated the remaining $6,701 from PW 110 because pursuant to Disaster Assistance Policy (DAP) 9523.15, Eligible Costs Related to Evacuations and Sheltering, dated April 6, 2007, food and hygiene kits are only eligible as part of congregate sheltering operations. Based on the information submitted by the Applicant, the survivors were not staying in congregate shelters. Furthermore, “2-1-1 Orange County” was a free telephone number with a free service that would not have been billed under normal circumstances, so FEMA would not pay for those costs.
In the Applicant’s second appeal dated January 5, 2010, the Applicant stated that they were requested by Orange County to provide assistance and services to the individuals affected by the fire. Additionally, the Applicant stated that although “2-1-1 Orange County” is a free service, the $3,428 bill was related to the incremental staff required to handle the increased number of phone calls.
According to DAP 9523.15, food and hygiene kits may be eligible for reimbursement when they are provided as part of congregate sheltering operations. However, based on the information submitted by the Applicant, the disaster survivors were not staying in congregate shelters but transitional sheltering, such as hotels, motels, or with friends and families. Per DAP 9523.15 Section VII.D, reimbursement for supplies and commodities for displaced disaster survivors in transitional sheltering is not authorized under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program.
The Applicant, a Private Nonprofit entity, also provided financial assistance directly to individuals by supplying numerous gift cards to the disaster survivors. Pursuant to Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR) §206.110 Federal assistance to individuals and households, financial assistance provided directly to individuals is provided through the IA Program.
The Applicant stated that the $3,428 was billed for “2-1-1 Orange County” phone calls was for the additional staff necessary to handle the spike in calls. The Public Assistance Guide (FEMA 322) dated June 2007 (page 54) states that the increased costs of telecommunications (e.g., additional cell phone instruments and fees) are ineligible for reimbursement.
I have reviewed all of the information submitted with the appeal and determined that the Regional Administrator’s decision in the first appeal is consistent with Public Assistance regulations and policy. Accordingly, I am denying this appeal.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
cc: Nancy Ward
FEMA Region IX