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How Public Assistance Works

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Release date: 
December 30, 2011
Release Number: 

WINDSOR, Conn. -- In 2011, Connecticut was hammered by severe weather, resulting in three major declarations and two emergency declarations. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Public Assistance (PA) program provides supplemental federal assistance to local, county and tribal governments, to state government agencies, and to certain private nonprofit organizations, all of which must meet specific criteria.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) works with the state, which schedules applicant briefings soon after the declaration. During these briefings, officials explain how the PA process works, including the types of documentation required for funding, deadlines for requesting PA funds and the categories under which applicants may submit projects to be considered for funding.

Applicants, a town or public museum, for instance, have 30 days after a county is designated as eligible for funding to submit their Request for Public Assistance. That does not exclude the same applicant from submitting other projects for public assistance funding under a separate declaration. For each project, the applicant must provide documentation for a defined scope of work. Projects eligible for PA funds generally fall under any of seven categories:

  1. Debris removal costs related to the disaster
  2. Emergency protective measures
  3. Repairing roads and bridges
  4. Putting water systems and utilities back in order
  5. Repairing buildings and equipment
  6. Repairing utilities
  7. Restoring damaged parks and recreational facilities.

PA grants approved by FEMA reimburse at least 75 percent of the eligible costs of repair and replacement for individual projects. The other 25 percent is the responsibility of the applicants receiving the funding. Once the projects are approved, FEMA turns the funds over to the state, which is accountable for their use and disbursement.

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.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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