DENTON, Texas -- Federal disaster assistance is available to help six New Mexico counties recover from a severe winter storm that occurred in February, according to officials with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Under FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program, the agency is able to provide supplemental financial assistance to the state and state agencies, local and tribal governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations for their eligible response and recovery expenses, including infrastructure repairs.
The Public Assistance program is different from FEMA’s Individual Assistance (IA) program, which assists homeowners, renters and business owners. This program is not included in this major disaster declaration.
Although Public Assistance funds go to government entities and nonprofits, the assistance is intended to benefit neighborhoods, cities and states. Public Assistance dollars help clean up communities overwhelmed by disaster-related debris, repair the roads and bridges people use every day getting to work and school, put utilities and water systems back in order, repair hospitals and emergency services, and rebuild schools and universities.
Following are some key dates, facts and deadlines for state, tribal and local government applicants seeking federal assistance as a result of the New Mexico winter storm:
- President Obama issued a major disaster declaration on March 24 for the Feb. 1-5 winter storm. Help is available to eligible applicants in Lincoln, Otero, Rio Arriba, Sierra, Socorro and Taos counties and the tribal jurisdictions of Mescalero Apache Tribe, Santa Ana Pueblo, Taos Pueblo, and the portions of Santa Clara Pueblo that lie entirely within Rio Arriba County.
- FEMA Public Assistance reimbursement dollars come to New Mexico communities through a cost-sharing partnership among the state, the applicants and the federal government. FEMA is reimbursing eligible applicants 75 percent of their eligible costs. FEMA obligates federal Public Assistance funds directly to the state, which disburses the money to the local jurisdictions and organizations that incurred costs.
- Applicants must file Requests for Public Assistance (RPAs) within 30 days of the March 24 presidential disaster declaration, which is close of business on April 23.
The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) is the state's homeland security and emergency management agency. The agency works to identify and lessen the effects of emergencies, disasters and threats to New Mexico by developing effective prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery actions for all disasters and emergencies.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.