WASHINGTON - - Today, FEMA announced a six-month extension of "Emergency Non-Congregate Sheltering during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency" (interim) policy. This policy, and subsequent extension, affirms FEMA’s commitment to protect public health by reimbursing state, tribal and territorial governments part of the cost of providing non-congregate sheltering to displaced disaster survivors.
In the spring of 2020, as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency declaration and subsequent major disaster declarations for COVID-19, FEMA established a policy that allowed governments to apply for reimbursement of costs associated with non-congregate sheltering of disaster survivors under the FEMA Public Assistance program. The policy was scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2020. However, due to the continuing need to protect public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA has extended this policy until June 30. States, tribes and territories will continue to have other reporting requirements associated with FEMA assistance for non-congregate sheltering, but this waiver provides greater flexibility and more certainty for governments providing sheltering during the pandemic.
In addition to extending the timeframe for consideration of reimbursement for non-congregate sheltering, the updated interim policy includes supplementary guidance clarifying criteria for processing time extension requests, identifying specific data and reporting necessary to assist in the effective management and eventual transition of sheltered populations into other forms of recovery assistance and identifying specific of work and cost eligibility requirements.
Typically, displaced disaster survivors are sheltered in congregate facilities with large open spaces, such as schools, churches, community centers, or similar facilities. But FEMA recognized the COVID-19 pandemic required additional strategies to ensure that survivors were sheltered in a way that would not increase the risk of exposure to or further transmission of the virus. That led to offering shelter in non-congregate environments, locations where each individual or household has living space that offers some level of privacy, such as hotels, motels, or dormitories.
FEMA regularly reviews program policies and guidance to ensure that state, local, tribal and territorial partners have the best guidance available and to ensure the appropriate use of federal funding. FEMA is committed to continuing to support the American people in the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.