SALEM, Ore. -- As a result of President Bush's disaster declaration for Public Assistance due to the severe winter storms that occurred December 26, 2003 through January 14, 2004, federal disaster assistance may be available to state and local government agencies, certain eligible Private Non-Profit organizations (PNPs) and Indian Tribes.
To assist these organizations, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with Oregon Emergency Management (OEM), has established a public assistance helpline where potential applicants can call and be directed to the proper resources. Eligibility for work will NOT be determined over the phone. The helpline is set up in FEMA disaster field office in Salem. The number is 1-877-365-1016 and can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"This special toll-free helpline should prove useful and user friendly for government entities and PNPs who want to determine how to initiate an application for disaster assistance," said Federal Coordinating Officer Bill Lokey.
The Public Assistance Program provides supplemental Federal disaster grant assistance for the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain private non-profit organizations.
"The Federal share of assistance is not less than 75 percent of the eligible cost for emergency measures and permanent restorations," said Abby Kershaw, State Coordinating Officer for the disaster. "The state will determine how the non-Federal share will be split with the applicants."
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.