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Hurricane María

FEMA grants open to PR faith-based, community, NGOs

For more information about eligible essential and critical service providers, go online to FEMA.gov and reference the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide.

Faith-based organizations, in addition to other community, volunteer, and non-profit organizations in areas eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance program may apply for  grants to help “return to helping others,” the agency announced.

Eligible organizations should submit their requests as soon as possible, it added in a statement released Sunday.

“As part of its mission, FEMA provides grants to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and certain private nonprofits through its Public Assistance program. PA will help pay for emergency work and repairs such as debris removal, emergency protective measures, and damage to public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, buildings, utilities, and recreation areas,” the agency stated.

Types of organizations that provide critical services that may qualify for FEMA Public Assistance grants include:

  • Private schools that provide elementary or secondary education or an institution of higher education;
  • Hospitals and other medical-treatment facilities; and
  • Utilities including water, sewer, and electrical systems.

Types of non-critical, essential services that may be eligible for Public Assistance grants include:

  • Senior citizen and community centers or other community services;
  • Food programs;
  • Educational enrichment activities;
  • Custodial and day care services;
  • Disability residential services;
  • Assisted living and low-income housing;
  • Homeless shelters and rehabilitation services; and
  • Performing and community arts centers.

Additionally, when any organization, such as faith-based organizations, schools, or community centers, provide emergency protective measures such as sheltering and feeding survivors on behalf of state, local, tribal, or territorial governments, FEMA may reimburse the costs of those services to the state, local, tribal, or territorial government.

The government and the organization must enter into an agreement for these services, and the government could then reimburse the organization.

Only organizations with state or IRS tax-exempt status may be considered.  For more information about eligible essential and critical service providers, go online to FEMA.gov and reference the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide.

Organizations that provide services of a non-critical, essential governmental nature must first apply for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) before being considered for a PA grant.

Public Assistance grants may be able to provide assistance to organizations that provide non-critical, essential governmental services for repair or replacement costs that SBA loans do not cover.

The SBA may provide up to $2 million to most private nonprofits in the form of low interest disaster loans.  To learn more about and apply for an SBA loan go online to sba.gov/disaster or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. If the website is not accessible, call 800-659-2955.

The first step to receive a FEMA PA grant for a faith-based, community, volunteer or other private nonprofit organization is to submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) to the government of Puerto Rico.

Faith-based organizations should contact the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency for more information.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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