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FACT SHEET: Houses of Worship in Florida may be Eligible for FEMA Public Assistance to Cover Damage from Hurricane Michael

Release date: 
November 5, 2018
Release Number: 
R4-DR-4399-FL FS 004

What is the Public Assistance grant program?

• Public Assistance (PA) provides grants to state and local governments and certain types of private non-profit (PNP) organizations so that communities can respond to and recover from presidentially-declared disasters.

• The program is funded by FEMA on a cost-share basis and administered by the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

• FEMA provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance, 75 percent reimbursement of eligible costs for Emergency Work (debris removal and life-saving emergency protective measures) and Permanent Work (repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain non-profit organizations). o For Eligible PNPs, debris removal is limited to that associated with the property of a facility.

o Emergency protective measures are generally limited to activities associated with preventing damage to a facility and its contents.

• FEMA does not provide PA funding to PNPs for the costs associated with emergency services such as sheltering and feeding survivors and other governmental services; unless those services were at the request of, and certified by, a legally-responsible government entity.

• Operating costs are generally not eligible even if the services are emergency services; unless the house of worship performs an emergency service at the request of, and is certified by, the legally-responsible government entity.


Eligibility requirements for houses of worship

• A house of worship must: o Be owned or operated by a Private Non-Profit organization.

o Have damage caused by Hurricane Michael that occurred on Oct. 7-19, 2018.

o Provide a non-critical but essential service open to the general public, without regard to their religious or secular nature.

o Provide an IRS current ruling letter granting tax exemption status under Section 501 (c) (d) or (e).

o Documentation from the state substantiating it is a non-revenue producing, nonprofit organization organized or doing business under state law


Request for Public Assistance (RPA) Application

• Request for Public Assistance (RPA) by submitting your completed RPA forms to

• Contact Florida Division of Emergency Management Public Assistance at or by calling (805) 815-4400 with questions on submission.

The deadline to complete the RPA is Dec. 14, 2018.


SBA disaster loans are a critical part of your application process

• For all PNPs that provide non-critical services, including houses of worship, FEMA may provide Public Assistance funding for eligible permanent work costs only if an SBA disaster loan does not cover them. o Like all non-critical PNP facilities under the law, a house of worship must apply to the SBA for a low-interest disaster loan for permanent repair work.

o Visit the SBA website at or contact the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or visit your local DRC by searching at process your application.

o FEMA will provide financial assistance only if the applicant is denied an SBA loan – or if the loan authorized is insufficient to cover repair costs

Last Updated: 
November 9, 2018 - 08:19