Honolulu Hawaii -- After a federally declared disaster, such as the severe storms, high surf, flooding and mudslides of December 4-7, 2007, getting funds to repair or rebuild damaged public infrastructure is a critical part of the response and recovery process.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), reimburses state and local governments for the actual costs for infrastructure work required as a result of the disaster through its Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program. The program also provides funds for certain hazard mitigation projects.
FEMA is coordinating with Hawaii State Civil Defense (SCD) to implement the Public Assistance Grant Program.
The funding process consists of the following steps: Preliminary Damage Assessment; Presidential Disaster Declaration; Applicants' Briefing by Grantee (SCD); Special Considerations; Submission of Request for Public Assistance by Applicant.
Of special importance is the Kick-off Meeting with the Public Assistance Coordinator. Within one week of receiving the Request for Public Assistance from potential applicants, the Public Assistance Coordinators?both Federal and State?contact the applicants to set up a Kick-Off Meeting. This meeting differs from the traditional Applicants' briefing conducted by State Civil Defense at the onset of disaster recovery operations.
The Applicants' Briefing is conducted by the governor's authorized representative for all potential candidates and provides specific information related to the disaster declaration and an overview of PA program procedures.
The Kick-Off Meeting provides a much more detailed review of the program as it applies to a specific applicant. In focusing on the individual needs of a single applicant, this approach allows the Public Assistance Coordinator to concentrate on the eligibility and documentation requirements that are most pertinent to that applicant. The Public Assistance Coordinator will also address issues, such as insurance, environmental protection, historic preservation, and hazard mitigation opportunities that potentially may affect the type and amount of assistance available and the documentation needed. Project formulation is the whole process of identifying the eligible scope of work and estimating the costs associated with that scope of work so that the grant can be speedily awarded and recovery can be completed.
Kick-Off Meetings began on March 6 and will be completed by March 17. Applicants from Hawaii, Kauai and Maui counties and state agencies on Oahu--which have eligible public facilities in each of the declared counties--submitted 28 Requests for Public Assistance. Projects include Debris Removal; Emergency Protective Measures; Roads and Bridges; Water Control Facilities; Buildings and Equipment; Utilities; Parks, Recreational Facilities, and Other Items.
The funding process continues with: Project Formulation and Cost Estimating: Large and Small Projects; Project Review and Validation; Obligation of Federal Funds and Disbursement to Subgrantees; Appeals and Closeout.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.