GLEN ALLEN, Va. -- The impact of disasters is wide-ranging, including public facilities and increasing the workload of local governments. Taking a lead role in helping communities recover is FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant Program. Public assistance is only activated following a presidential disaster declaration and provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance to state agencies, local governmental entities, certain non-profit organizations and tribal organizations.
On July 13, 2006 this infrastructure assistance was approved for the independent City of Alexandria and the counties of Alleghany, Arlington, Bath, Dickenson, Fairfax, Highland, King George, and Rockbridge for damages sustained during the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in late June and early July.
The Public Assistance Grant Program is intended to provide funding for the eligible repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged facilities. Additional assistance may reimburse costs incurred for disaster cleanup or emergency actions taken to protect lives or property. The federal share of recovery costs is 75 percent. The remaining share is the responsibility of the state and local government or non-profit organization.
The process of obtaining public assistance is established and formatted. VDEM and FEMA specialists are always available to assist the applicant along the way, starting with the briefings and kick-off meetings now in the planning stage.
Federal Coordinating Officer, Gracia Szczech, said “public assistance grants often represent large sums of money but since they only involve local and state governments and certain non-profit organizations, most people don’t know about them.”
Michael Cline, Virginia state coordinating officer, said “public assistance is a quiet form of disaster assistance with major long term significance.”
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities; works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.