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Damaged Houses of Worship May Request FEMA Help

Release date: 
April 23, 2019
Release Number: 

GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico—Houses of worship damaged by Hurricane Maria have until Friday May 17, 2019 to apply for FEMA help and submit all required documentation.

They may be eligible through FEMA’s Public Assistance grant program to repair or replace damage to their facilities. To be eligible, facilities must be owned or operated by a house of worship and open to the general public.

FEMA defines religious facilities as a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other house of worship without regard to the religious character of the facility.

Organizations interested in completing the application should visit, click the “glossary and documentation” tab and then click “PNP & RPA Questionnaire.”

They may also go directly to

Once all the documents requested in the checklist have been completed, they should be emailed to Applicants will receive an email confirming receipt of documents.

Documents are necessary for FEMA to review applications and determine eligibility.

COR3 will refer applicants to FEMA for eligibility review only after receiving all necessary documents. No documents will be accepted after the May 17 deadline.

“FEMA assistance to repair damaged houses of worship is part of our long-term commitment to comprehensively support the island’s recovery,” Acting Caribbean Area Division Director Justo ‘Tito’ Hernandez said. “We’ll be here as long as it takes to make sure all eligible facilities, including houses of worship, receive the maximum amount federal law allows.”

Houses of worship must apply to the U.S. Small Business Administration for a loan. FEMA financial assistance for the repair or replacement of a house of worship is limited to costs that a loan from the SBA will not cover.

FEMA may only provide financial assistance if the house of worship is denied a loan or if the loan authorized is insufficient to cover repair costs.

Houses of worship can complete SBA loan applications by visiting a community recover center. Their closest community recovery center can be located online at or by calling the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use TDD may call 800-462-7585.

For additional assistance with the application process, applicants may contact the SBA at 800-659-2955. Those who use TDD may contact 800-877-8339.

This opportunity is being granted exclusively for houses of worship and does not apply to other private nonprofit facilities that may be operated by a house of worship such as schools, hospitals, broadcasting facilities, food banks, shelters and others. This deadline was April 3, 2018.

For more information on the Hurricane María recovery, visit




Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.


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Last Updated: 
April 23, 2019 - 15:21