Olympia, WA -- A new toll-free INFO Line (1-800-450-8565) opens this morning to help answer questions from Private Nonprofit organizations, which experienced damage or losses from the Nisqually Earthquake. The phone line is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Private Nonprofits had been registering through FEMA's toll-free registration number, but according to Federal Coordinating Officer Bill Lokey, the new "PNP INFO Line" should prove even more useful and user friendly.
"The Stafford Act (the Public Law which defines how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinates disaster response and recovery support following major disasters) was amended last October, redefining 'critical' and 'non-critical' private nonprofit services," said Lokey. "Critical providers of services such as water and waste facilities, power generation, emergency medical and fire protection still apply for federal aid as they always have, through FEMA's public assistance program. Non-critical service providers such as church food kitchens, museums, libraries and youth programs now apply for assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Thanks to the Washington Emergency Management Division, we now have a special toll-free "INFO Line" specifically tailored for PNP inquiries."
State Coordinating Officer Diana Offord concurred. "This is really the first major disaster since the new Stafford Act amendments took effect, and there is an extra step or two," she said. "Now, non-critical (but still vital) non-profit organizations must first apply for a U.S. Small Businesses Administration (SBA) low-interest loan. Our new toll-free INFO Line offers access to program experts to talk applicants though the process."
Non-critical, nonprofit organizations may first register with FEMA or they can apply directly to SBA. SBA representatives are available at all Disaster Recovery Centers to provide these nonprofits with face-to-face help in completing their applications and to answer questions about how a disaster loan from SBA can help them pay for their disaster losses or they may contact SBA directly at 1-800-488-5323.
If the applicant is unable to qualify for a loan from SBA, or the loan they receive only provides partial assistance, then the applicant may apply through the State for additional FEMA Public Assistance. FEMA may be able to provide assistance on a cost-sharing basis, with FEMA paying 75% of the cost.
The amended Stafford Act does not affect the ability of PNPs to receive assistance from FEMA for debris removal and emergency protective measures.