WASHINGTON - As part of the whole-of-America response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA is working to help disaster survivors, the homeless, and state, local, tribal and territorial governments across the country.
“For the first time in our nation’s history, we have major disaster declarations in every state, five territories and the District of Columbia,” said FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor. “We’re doing everything in our power to lessen the impact of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Americans.”
Support for Local, State, Tribal and Territorial Governments
FEMA recently announced the availability of $100 million in additional funding for the Emergency Management Performance Grant Program. This money will assist state, local, tribal and territorial governments with their public health and emergency management activities supporting the prevention of, preparation for, and response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.
Funding is available to all 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. All applications must be submitted by April 28.
Reimbursement for Non-Congregate Sheltering
New York and California are providing hotel rooms for individuals struggling with homelessness who have been exposed to or have tested positive for COVID-19 and those who are at high risk for the virus. These individuals do not require hospitalization but benefit from assistance to stay healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, in New York state, lodging is offered to healthcare workers who may be exposed to COVID-19 and do not want to return home for fear of infecting family members.
To protect the public health, FEMA’s Public Assistance program will reimburse 75 percent of the eligible costs for these hotel rooms for up to 30 days. Should the need continue, these states may request an extension. This assistance may be available to state, local, tribal and territorial governments that request and receive approval from FEMA.
Funding Food Distribution
FEMA recognizes that there may be areas where it will be necessary for state, local, tribal and territorial governments to provide food to meet the immediate needs of those who do not have access to food as a result of COVID-19 and issued a policy defining eligible work and costs for purchasing and distributing food.
State, local, tribal and territorial governments may enter into formal agreements or contracts with private organizations, including private nonprofit organizations such as food banks, to purchase and distribute food when necessary as an emergency protective measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Public Assistance funding is provided to the legally responsible government agency, which would then reimburse the organization for services under the agreement or contract. The Public Assistance program will reimburse 75 percent of the cost of purchasing, packaging, preparing and delivering food to distribution points or individuals, when necessary.
This funding will be used to partially reimburse the state of California as it delivers three meals a day to senior citizens who need food assistance and who are not participating in other food security programs.
FEMA also delivered $3 million of infant supplies including 8,200 cases of formula, 23,260 packages of diapers and 53,167 packages of diaper wipes to families experiencing poverty to help them care for their children.
Disaster Survivors Assistance
FEMA is suspending the April, May and June rent payments for disaster survivors living in FEMA-purchased temporary housing units. This temporary suspension was approved to ease the financial burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on disaster survivors living in FEMA-purchased temporary housing units due to disasters that occurred in California, Florida, North Carolina and Texas.
FEMA also extended financial assistance for an additional 90 days to Hurricane Michael survivors in Florida who continue to receive rental assistance from FEMA to assist with their ongoing recovery.
Extension of Flood Insurance Policy Renewal Periods
FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program extended the grace period to renew flood insurance policies from 30 to 120 days to help customers who may be experiencing financial hardships. This extension applies to 1.5 million flood insurance policies with an expiration date between Feb. 13 and June 15, 2020.
Emergency Food and Shelter Grants
FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) received an additional $200 million in supplemental funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This money will be distributed to local social service organizations providing non-emergency assistance to people in need.
EFSP funds can be used for a broad range of services, including mass shelter, mass feeding, food pantries and food banks, utility bills and rent/mortgage payments to prevent foreclosures or evictions, and transition assistance from shelters to stable living conditions.
The supplemental $200 million from the CARES Act is separate from the fiscal year 2019 allocation of $120 million appropriated to the EFSP in annual funding. Money from both the supplemental and annual funding is expected to be distributed to local agencies in June 2020.
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FEMA’s mission is to help people before, during and after disasters.
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