Jesse Munoz, Recovery Division Director
The recovery mission seeks to support communities in rebuilding so individuals, civic institutions, businesses, and governmental organizations can function on their own, return to normal life, and protect against future hazards.
Recovery planning is conducted at the FEMA national and Regional levels with a broad range of partners (Federal, State, Tribal, and local governments; private sector; and nongovernment organizations) to strengthen recovery assistance for specific incidents and to support participation in national-level exercises. Planning also helps to integrate recovery programs and activities with other disaster missions such as response and mitigation.
Valerie Rhoads, Public Assistance Branch Chief
Public Assistance (PA) helps communities recover from the devastating effects of disasters efficiently, effectively, and in a customer-friendly manner through technical assistance and financial grants. PA provides Federal disaster grants from the President’s Disaster Relief Fund to eligible State, Tribal, and local governments, as well as certain nonprofit organizations for the repair, replacement, or restoration of publicly owned facilities and infrastructure damaged by the disaster.
Jackie Reginello, Individual Assistance Branch Chief
Individual Assistance (IA) ensures that disaster survivors have prompt access to a full range of programs and services to speed and simplify their recovery through a coordination of assistance and partnerships among Federal, State, Tribal, and local governments; voluntary agencies; and the private sector. Federal IA is authorized by the Stafford Act and funded by the President’s Disaster Relief Fund. IA functions include:
• Mass Care/Emergency Assistance: FEMA works with Emergency Support Function #6 - Mass Care to support agencies and organizations to provide services such as feeding, sheltering, clothing, and reunification of households. Partners in fulfilling this mission include National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, which is comprised of 51 organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Mennonite Disaster Service, Catholic Charities, Feed the Children, United Way, and the Humane Society of the United States.
• Housing: FEMA disaster housing assistance may be provided as financial aid or direct housing assistance. The Stafford Act also authorizes FEMA to construct permanent housing under certain circumstances. Housing assistance includes rental assistance, repair, loan assistance, replacement, factory-built housing, semi-permanent and permanent construction, referrals, identification and provision of accessible housing, and access to other sources of housing assistance.
• Human Services: FEMA coordinates individual, household, and community services recovery programs. This recovery program provides for “Other Needs Assistance” to repair/replace personal property and/or pay for transportation, medical, dental, and funeral expenses. Disaster Unemployment Insurance provides unemployment and re-employment services through the Department of Labor to individuals who have become unemployed because of the disaster and are unable to secure regular unemployment benefits. The Crisis Counseling Program, coordinated by FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services provides supplemental funding to States for short-term counseling services to eligible disaster survivors. Through an agreement with the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, FEMA also provides free help to meet survivors’ disaster-related legal needs such as replacing legal documents lost in the disaster, advice on home repair contracts and landlord-tenant issues, and preparing powers of attorney.
• Supporting Disaster Assistance to Survivors: The FEMA disaster recovery processing centers are located across the United States and serve as the crucial link between the public and FEMA. Staff members in FEMA National Processing Service Centers register applicants for disaster assistance. FEMA staff or contractors also verify disaster losses through on-site inspections, process applications to determine assistance eligibility, respond to inquiries from applicants, and coordinate the FEMA applicant telephone registrations.