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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# N/A; Neringa, Inc.
PW ID# N/A; Request for Public Assistance
Citation: FEMA-4022-DR-VT, Neringa, Inc., Request for Public Assistance
Cross-Reference: Request for Public Assistance
Summary: On September 1, 2011, the President declared a major disaster for Vermont as a result of Tropical Storm Irene and set an incident period of August 27 to September 2, 2011. During the incident period, the flooding damaged a bridge at Camp Neringa, owned and operated by Neringa, Inc. (Applicant). The bridge provides the only ingress and egress to the camp facilities. On October 11, 2012, the FEMA Joint Field Office informed the Applicant that it was not eligible for Public Assistance because the Applicant did not meet the definition of an eligible private nonprofit (PNP) entity and that Camp Neringa did not meet the requirements of an eligible facility. The Applicant submitted its first appeal on December 9, 2012, asserted it is an eligible PNP organization, and provided a Section 50l(c)(3) ruling letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In the first appeal decision, the FEMA Regional Administrator acknowledged the ruling letter and found that although the Applicant met the definition of a PNP organization under the Public Assistance program, Camp Neringa was not an eligible PNP facility under the program because it was established and used primarily for religious purposes. In its second appeal, the Applicant notes that the cultural activities take place during a few select weeks, and the facility is available to the public for other uses the remainder of the year. The Applicant also asserts that the damaged bridge, which provides the only ingress and egress to the camp, is open to the public and none of the camp activities take place on the bridge. The Grantee opined in its transmittal letter that Camp Neringa may qualify as a community center.
Issue: Does the Applicant own or operate a facility that qualifies as an eligible private nonprofit facility under the Public Assistance program?
Finding: No. The Applicant established and uses Camp Neringa for primarily religious purposes.
Rationale: Section 406(a)(3) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 93-288, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.; 44 C.F.R. § 206.221(f) and § 206.222(b), (2007); FEMA Disaster Assistance Policy 9521.1, Community Center Eligibility; FEMA Disaster Assistance Policy 9521.3, Private Nonprofit (PNP) Facility Eligibility; Public Assistance Guide, FEMA 322, pages 10-20