OLYMPIA, Wash. -- On March 2, 2009, President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for several Washington counties, making Public Assistance available to them as they recover from the severe winter storm and record/near-record snow that took place from Dec. 12, 2008, through Jan. 5, 2009.
State and federal disaster recovery officials want to remind all eligible state and local governments, tribal governments and certain nonprofit organizations in those counties that the deadline to apply for assistance is March 31, 2009.
While Public Assistance is oriented to public and tribal government entities, some private nonprofits may qualify for help as well if they provide "essential services" of a governmental nature.
Federal regulations separate nonprofits into two camps: critical facilities (power, water, sewer and wastewater, education and fire protection, and support services for critical facilities), and noncritical facilities (low income housing, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation programs, etc.).
Both may apply directly to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Washington Emergency Management Division (WEMD) for costs associated with the snowstorm. The Public Assistance program is managed by WEMD, with the federal government contributing 75 percent of approved project funding.
Nonprofits with noncritical facilities must also apply for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loan for repair of permanent facilities. If the private nonprofit organization is declined for an SBA loan, the nonprofit may be considered for FEMA assistance. There is no SBA requirement for nonprofits with critical facilities.
State and local governments, tribal governments and certain private nonprofits in the declared counties may be eligible for two types of assistance. The types of assistance and the counties designated to receive them are as follows:
Categories A-G (Assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities), 24 counties:
Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, and Whatcom
Category B (Assistance for emergency protective measures, including snow removal assistance, to save lives and to protect public health and safety), 27 counties:
Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Columbia, Cowlitz, Franklin, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, King, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Spokane, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom, Whitman, and Yakima.
This second type of emergency assistance (for snow removal) will be provided only for a period of 48 hours. The 48-hour period is selected by the applicant, based on their most critical emergency needs.
Local government and tribal officials, as well as representatives from nonprofit organizations, can learn about federal and state disaster recovery help during a series of briefings being conducted across the state. Eligible entities in the designated counties are urged to contact the Emergency Manager in their county to find out when the briefings will be held and how to apply for assistance.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.