In recent years, tremendous strides have been made by federal, state, tribal, and local governments to educate the public about natural disasters. Localities are now better able to respond to disasters, recover from their impact, and mitigate future damage. However, it remains a fact that in situations of catastrophic proportions, nothing that technology or preparedness has provided can prevent the inherent discontinuity in our lives caused by major disasters. Such events must be responded to through a cooperative federal, state, tribal, and local effort.
When a disaster occurs, it is the responsibility first of the local community and then the State to respond. Often, their combined efforts are not sufficient to cope effectively with the direct results of the disaster. This situation calls for federal assistance to supplement state, tribal, and local efforts. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §5121 - 5207, authorizes the President to provide such assistance. Assistance is coordinated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This guide explains how FEMA implements that portion of the law that authorizes Federal grants for infrastructure recovery through its Public Assistance (PA) Program. Potential recipients of this funding include State, Tribal, and local governments and certain types of Private Nonprofit (PNP) organizations.
A fundamental goal of the PA Program is to ensure that everyone shares a common understanding of the program policies and procedures. To support this goal, FEMA has undertaken an effort to provide the State, Tribal, and local partners with more and better information about the PA Program. This guide describes the PA Program's basic provisions and application procedures. The guide may be of interest to elected leaders, emergency managers, city engineers, public works directors, financial management personnel, managers of eligible PNP organizations, and other individuals who have the responsibility for restoring a community's infrastructure in the wake of a disaster. An electronic version is available on the FEMA website (https://www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit and click on Policy and Guidance). Because this document is not exhaustive and the provisions are subject to modification, the information contained herein should be verified with FEMA PA Program officials before becoming the basis for decision making.
We invite comments that will make this guide as helpful as possible to all users, applicants, and administrators of Public Assistance. Please send your comments, as well as any other suggestions on ways to improve the program, to:
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20472
With a shared understanding of the program and through a partnership with all participants, we expect to efficiently, effectively, and consistently provide recovery grant funding to all eligible applicants whose lives and infrastructure have been disrupted by disaster.
Acting Assistant Administrator
Disaster Assistance Directorate
Federal Emergency Management Agency
This guide describes FEMA's Public Assistance Program's basic provisions and application procedures. Because this document is not exhaustive and the provisions are subject to modification, the information contained herein should be verified with FEMA PA Program officials before becoming the basis for decision making.