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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 071-UCRUY-00; Redus Kiddie Kampus
PW ID# N/A; Request for Public Assistance
March 26, 2013
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
7667 Independence Boulevard
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70806
Re: Second Appeal-Redus Kiddie Kampus, PA ID 071-UCRUY-00, Requests for Public Assistance, FEMA-1603-DR-LA
Dear Mr. Davis:
This letter is in response to a letter from your office dated October 9, 2012, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of Redus Kiddie Kampus (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision to deny its Request for Public Assistance (RPA).
In October 2010, the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) requested that the FEMA accept, for full review, additional Private Non-profit (PNP) RPAs under Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike. From November 16, 2010, until October 7, 2011, FEMA accepted new requests from faith-based PNP organizations that had not previously applied for Public Assistance due to extenuating circumstances.
The Applicant submitted an RPA under FEMA-1603-DR-LA requesting assistance to repair damage to its facility sustained during Hurricane Katrina. The Applicant operated a day care center between 1975 and the early 2000s. The Applicant closed the day care center in 2004 in order to renovate the building with plans to reopen in 2005. Hurricane Katrina caused damage to the renovated facility while the Applicant awaited State and local inspections that would allow the daycare center to be relicensed and reopened. The Applicant was previously licensed from 1975 until 1998, when its license expired and was not renewed. While license renewal is required annually, the Applicant claimed it was unaware the license had expired. The Applicant furnished documents from the State of Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services that showed it was licensed from March 2003 through March 2004; however, the license was an initial license, not a renewal, indicating a gap in licensing from 1998 through 2003. There is no record of the Applicant having renewed the expired license prior to the disaster, resulting in the Applicant having been neither licensed nor certified at the time of the disaster. In December 2011, FEMA determined that the Applicant was not an eligible PNP because it did not hold a PNP tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) nor had the Applicant filed as a PNP with the Louisiana Secretary of State until February 2011.
The Applicant submitted it first appeal on February 2, 2012, which was transmitted by GOHSEP to FEMA on April 27, 2012. The Applicant asked FEMA to reconsider its PNP eligibility and to reimburse it for disaster-related damage to its facility. The Applicant stated that it met the PNP requirements prior to August 29, 2005. In addition, the State Licensing Board, Fire Department, and the Department of Health and Sanitation had been contacted regarding inspections prior to opening the facility. Included in the Applicant’s support documentation was a copy of a 2011 State of Louisiana License.
In a letter dated June 28, 2012, the FEMA Regional Administrator denied the first appeal because the Applicant did not provide documentation to substantiate that it was licensed or certified as a day care facility on the date of the disaster. The Regional Administrator noted the Applicant did not have an IRS 501(c) tax exempt letter and did not provide evidence that it was a PNP under Louisiana state law on the date of the disaster. Therefore, the Applicant did not meet the requirements of a PNP pursuant to Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR) §206.221 (f) Definitions, Private nonprofit organization.
The Applicant submitted a second appeal on August 3, 2012, which the State transmitted to FEMA on October 9, 2012. The Applicant maintains that the second appeal should be granted because the circumstances of each appeal are different and, as such, all applicants should not fall within the same FEMA guidelines. The Applicant contends that one set of guidelines does not fit all situations and should not be the sole basis to exclude potential applicants. Instead, the Applicant requests that FEMA judge its appeal on a case by case based on the merits of its loss. In addition, the Applicant claims that FEMA should grant the appeal because the restoration of its property will have a positive impact on the community and improve the value of the neighborhood.
FEMA’s appeals process is the opportunity for applicants to request reconsideration of FEMA determinations regarding provisions of assistance to ensure that FEMA’s decisions are consistent with applicable statutes, regulations and policies. The appeals process also provides FEMA the opportunity to thoroughly and objectively review the eligibility of an entity, facility, work, or cost. While FEMA recognizes the vital role that day care centers serve in communities and in the lives of children, these organizations must satisfy the legal requirements for eligibility in order to receive funding under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program.
According to 44 CFR §206.221(F), a PNP is an eligible PNP if it has a ruling letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service or satisfactory evidence from the State it is a nonprofit organization doing business under State law. The Applicant has not provided FEMA a ruling letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to prove its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status nor has it provided evidence that it was a PNP under Louisiana State law on the date of the disaster. Based on the documentation submitted in support of this second appeal, the Applicant did not qualify as an eligible PNP.
I have reviewed the information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the Regional Administrator’s decision is consistent with Public Assistance Program regulations and policies. Therefore, I am denying the Applicant’s second appeal.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
Elizabeth A. Zimmerman
Acting Associate Administrator
Office of Response and Recovery
cc: George A. Robinson
FEMA Region VI