ATLANTA – When disaster strikes, the first reaction is to address personal and family safety issues, followed by a concern for material losses. There is a federal disaster program – Individual Assistance – that responds to the urgent needs of individuals and business owners. There is another equally important element of disaster recovery that is not so widely known – Public Assistance (PA).
The PA program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is a form of assistance that addresses an entire community but usually not in the immediate and direct way that individual assistance programs do.
FEMA’s PA benefits everyone—neighborhoods, cities and states. PA dollars clean up the community, repair bridges, put water systems and utilities back in order, rebuild libraries and replace damaged books, repair hospitals and emergency services, rebuild schools and universities, and restore damaged public parks so that families can enjoy them again.
“FEMA Public Assistance dollars come to the community through a partnership of cost-sharing between the state, local authorities and the federal government,” says FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech. “FEMA picks up 75 percent of the eligible cost of putting a community back on its feet, and in Georgia, the state funds 10 percent and the applicant is responsible for the remaining 15 percent.”
Types of entities that may be eligible for Public Assistance include:
- State government agencies;
- Local and county governments;
- Private nonprofit organizations that own or operate facilities that provide essential government-type services
PA grants are available to cover costs in seven work categories:
- Category A: debris removal
- Category B: emergency protective measures
- Category C: road systems and bridges
- Category D: water control facilities
- Category E: public buildings, contents and equipment
- Category F: utilities
- Category G: parks and recreational
Under the presidential...