Preparedness Grant Effectiveness Case Study: New York City

In August 2021, FEMA conducted a grant effectiveness case study with New York City to understand how FEMA preparedness grant funding helped prepare the city’s mass fatality management (MFM) system for the significant increase in deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic. FEMA conducted this case study virtually with representatives from NYC’s MFM system, including NYC Emergency Management (NYCEM) and the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). 

Although the pandemic created significant challenges for New York City, Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) preparedness funding, which includes funding from the State Homeland Security Program and the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), helped NYCEM and OCME respond effectively. Additionally, Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program funding was critical in supporting fatality management planning in the years before the pandemic. Although not addressed in this report, other federal funding, such as preparedness grants from the Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), was also critical in support of NYC’s fatality and pandemic preparedness and response.

With UASI funding, NYC forged relationships with private and public partners through trainings to bolster local capacity, facilitate collaboration, and make technological investments through the UASI program to address major information technology challenges related to the MFM process. Case study participants reported that the combined effect of these investments significantly aided the response and helped overcome new challenges that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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