LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- In Arkansas neighborhoods hit hard by back-to-back storms, tornadoes and floods this spring, state and federal Individual Assistance grants and loans are helping eligible residents meet their urgent storm-related needs and get back into repaired homes.
But another element of disaster assistance affects entire communities, although usually not in the immediate and direct way Individual Assistance programs do. This form of assistance makes a difference to the state, state agencies, local governments and certain nonprofit organizations.
That form of aid is the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program, and it is available in 58 Arkansas counties under the presidential disaster declarations of May 2 and July 8.
To date, more than $1 million in grants has been obligated to eligible applicants, including:
- $360,000 to the Arkansas National Guard for emergency protective measures
- $278,000 to Garland County for storm debris removal
- More than 90 smaller grants totaling about $300,000 for road and infrastructure repairs and debris removal
The PA reimbursement program benefits everyone -- neighborhoods, cities and states. PA dollars help clean up downed trees and other debris, repair the roads and bridges people use every day going to work and school, put power poles back in the ground, repair schools and emergency services and put playground equipment back in public parks. The funds benefit facilities and services used by the entire community.
"We're pleased that Public Assistance funds are coming to Arkansas to help relieve local communities of the enormous burden of paying to clean up and repair the storm damage," said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.
Types of entities that may be eligible for Public Assistance in Arkansas include:
- State government agencies
- Local governments
- Certain private nonprofit organizations, including rural electric cooperatives
"PA grants are obligated to government entities and nonprofits, but their intent is to ensure the roads, facilities and services people use every day are safe and functioning," said Deputy Federal Coordinating Office W. Michael Moore.
FEMA Public Assistance funds are available to Arkansas communities through a partnership of cost sharing. FEMA picks up 75 percent of the eligible cost of putting a community back on its feet, and the state and the applicant share the remaining 25 percent.
The 58 designated counties are: Arkansas, Baxter, Benton, Bradley, Boone, Calhoun, Carroll, Chicot, Clark, Clay, Cleburne, Cleveland, Conway, Craighead, Crawford, Crittenden, Cross, Dallas, Faulkner, Franklin, Fulton, Garland, Greene, Hot Spring, Howard, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Johnson, Lawrence, Lee, Lincoln, Lonoke, Madison, Marion, Mississippi, Monroe, Montgomery, Nevada, Newton, Perry, Phillips, Pike, Poinsett, Polk, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Searcy, Sharp, St. Francis, Stone, Van Buren, Washington, White, Woodruff and Yell.
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.